This essay showcases the work of Claudia Coca, a contemporary pop artist from Lima, Peru whose paintings and drawings critique the links between race, gender, and class in a decolonial, transnational frame. First, the essay explores the way Coca celebrates the Peruvian chola by presenting herself as an empowered subject instead of as an insulted object in her paintings. While the term chola has historically been used derogatorily, Coca reappropriates her chola identity and reclaims it as her own, consequently subverting its prejudicial, racist origins. Second, the essay studies the critiques she performs of the “afterlives of colonialism” on the natural and cultural environment in her most recent series of drawings from 2017. She demonstrates that not only human bodies, but other natural materials are tangled up with the project of cultural colonization. Throughout the article, the work of Chela Sandoval is drawn on to argue that Coca practices an oppositional aesthetic that makes sensible the perspectives of subjects whose voices and bodies have been disparaged instead of valued within an uneven global capitalist system.

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