“Almha La Vengadora”: Protagonist of the Indigenous Alteño Neo-Avant-Garde

Maria Irina Soto-Mejia


This article discusses the work of Crispín Portugal (1976-2007), a writer from El Alto, in the context of the struggles against poverty and racism vis-a-vis the cities of El Alto and La Paz, and the anti-market publishing movement started in Argentina which produced books with cardboard covers bought from cartoneros (cardboard collectors). Portugal and other indigenous writers initiated a publishing project called Yerba Mala [Weeds] Cartonera, with its own blog, disseminating Bolivian literature that has no access to publishing by other means. Through the revision of a Portugal’s short story (Almha la Vengadora) that portrays a woman wrestler, Almha, a chola from El Alto whose name in the ring is “the avenger”, this article proposes the configuration of an alteño neoavant-garde indigenism comparable to the avant-garde of Gamaliel Churata. Towards this end, special attention is given to El Alto -the largest indigenous city in Latin America- placing it as key to the development of a neoavant-garde that feeding itself from the failed neoliberalism looks at a modernity that reclaiming the Aymara indigenous past aims to invent other forms of future.


Aymara literature; Crispín Portugal; El Alto; indigenous neo-avant-garde; Orkopata Group; Yerba Mala Cartonera

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/bsj.2015.128


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Copyright (c) 2016 Maria Irina Soto-Mejia

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