William Cordova works primarily with found materials to create drawings and mixed-media installations, using a symbolic system of personal and cultural references. Recurring motifs and materials, such as books, microphones, Peruvian gourds, vinyl records, and old sneakers, carry multiple meanings that blur the lines between social realism and magical realism. They often allude to Cordova’s Afro-Peruvian heritage, nomadic lifestyle, and an assortment of urban subcultures and unsung histories.

He made this series of drawings and collages, entitled Pachacuti, from the pages of aging books. It exemplifies Cordova’s ongoing interest in the repurposing and sampling of imagery and ideas. He frequently borrows titles from literary texts, oral traditions, song lyrics, and other quotes from counter-cultural figures. The title Pachacuti references the powerful Inca emperor of the same name (1438 – 1471), who conquered various peoples in what is now southern Peru.


  • Title: Pachacuti
  • Creator: William Cordova
  • Creator Birth Place: Lima, Peru
  • Date Created: 2004–2007
  • Location: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Physical Dimensions: 9 1/8 x 11 1/2 inches (23.2 x 29.2 cm)
  • Type: Mixed Media
  • Publisher: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Rights: © William Cordova
  • Medium: Ink, graphite, and mixed media on paper
  • Art Form: Mixed Media
  • Credit Line: Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Museum purchase.

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