Page, Joanna;

Published On


Page Range

pp. 201–236


  • English

Print Length

36 pages


  • taxidermy
  • dioramas
  • museums
  • artists
  • animal objectification
  • human/animal relations
  • Latin American artists
  • ecology
  • environment
  • exhibition practices
  • natural history museums
  • Daniel Malva
  • Adriana Bustos
  • Rodrigo Arteaga
  • Walmor Corrêa
  • Pablo La Padula
  • remediation
  • recycling
  • reuse
  • critical dialogue
  • Eurocentric conceptions of nature
  • afterlives
  • animal agency
  • narratives
  • anthropocentric

6. Taxidermy and Natural History Dioramas

  • Joanna Page (author)
This chapter explores works that engage with the art and science of taxidermy and the construction of dioramas for museums of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While many artists have rejected taxidermy, given its association with cruelty toward animals, some have reclaimed the practice with the purpose of drawing attention to histories of animal objectification or rethinking human/animal relations. Recent recourses to taxidermy among Latin American artists have provided an opportunity to question of the exhibition practices of natural history museums, while exploring alternative ways of thinking about ecology and the environment. The projects I discuss in this chapter by Daniel Malva (Brazil), Adriana Bustos (Argentina), Rodrigo Arteaga (Chile), Walmor Corrêa (Brazil), and Pablo La Padula (Argentina) remediate, recycle or reuse taxidermy animals within new forms of diorama that construct a critical dialogue with Eurocentric conceptions of nature. They create “afterlives” for taxidermy animals that are held in tension between nature and culture or science and popular myth; they also demonstrate how taxidermy may—paradoxically—be deployed to restore animal agency and to create narratives that are less anthropocentric.


Joanna Page

Professor of Latin American Studies at University of Cambridge

Joanna Page is Professor of Latin American Studies and the Director of CRASSH (the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities) at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of several books on cinema, graphic fiction, literature and visual art in Argentina, Chile, and Latin America more broadly. Many of her research projects focus on the relationship between science and the arts, but her interests also include posthumanism, new materialism, decoloniality and environmental thought in Latin America. Her most recent monograph was Decolonizing Science in Latin American Art (UCL Press, 2021). Other books published in the past few years include Geopolitics, Culture, and the Scientific Imaginary in Latin America (co-edited with María del Pilar Blanco, University Press of Florida, 2020) and Posthumanism and the Graphic Novel in Latin America (co-authored with Edward King, UCL Press, 2017).