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Enrique Chagoya

Enrique Chagoya (b. 1953)

El Regreso del Canibal Macrobiótico

(The Return of the Macrobiotic Cannibal), 1998

Accordion-folded artist’s book, sixteen-color lithograph and woodcut on amate paper and chine collé

Unfolded: 7 ½ × 92 inches

Printed and published by Shark’s Ink, Lyons, CO
Edition: 30

Photo by Bud Shark, courtesy Shark’s Ink, Lyons, CO. 

© 2020 Enrique Chagoya


This nearly eight-foot accordion-folded artist’s book mimics the codices produced in Mesoamerica before the Spanish conquest. (Most were destroyed by the Spanish, while others, like the famous Codex Borgia, were taken to Europe.) Like these manuscripts, Enrique Chagoya’s book is made from amate, a traditional fig bark paper, and is read from right to left. El Regreso del Canibal Macrobiótico introduces Chagoya’s “utopian cannibal” (wearing a head from the Codex Borgia and a grey coat), a trickster in a parallel universe who ingests European and U.S. culture and incorporates it into that of an uncolonized Mesoamerica. The result is a non-linear clash of appropriated signifiers ranging from pre-Columbian mythology to Catholic iconography, and from 20th century American pop culture and politics to European fantasies of the “New World.” In this way, Chagoya uses appropriation as intervention. He calls this method “reverse anthropology,” critiquing dominant narratives by subverting the conventions established by colonial and imperial cultures. 

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Jennifer Farrell,

Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art


“History is an ideological construction....I decided

to invent my own account of the many possible stories—from Cortez to the border patrol to the modern globalization of the economy as a new form of colonialism—in my own visual language. I hope the multilinear narrative and sense of humor can open the work to

other interpretations beyond my own.”


Attributed to Wolfgang Kilian (1581–1662)

Insulae Canibalium (Island of Cannibals,

Plate VI of Nova typis transacta navigatio), 1621 


Plate: 6 ⅞ × 11 ¼ inches


Photo: Courtesy the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University


Page from Superman vs. The Amazing

Spider-Man: The Battle of the Century, 1976

Written by Gerry Conway

Art by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano


© Warner Bros./Marvel Entertainment