Morag Colquhoun

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Morag Colquhoun's MPhil/PhD Art research project

Trofannolismo: reimagining a planetary Tropicália

My project Trofannolismo is a re-imagination of 1960s Brazilian Tropicália from a perspective of rural Wales. Trofannolismo combines the Welsh word for tropical with the Spanish/Portuguese suffix – ismo. I am currently working with two rural Welsh communities: Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) and Elan Valley reservoirs. At the same time, I am focusing on two communities in South America that are known to me. This reveals common issues, including touristification, local production, water resources and climate change.


My research develops cross-cultural assemblages, including botanical beeswax models created with Welsh and South American communities to whom those plants are meaningful and expands filmmaking in the same communities as a politicised, aesthetic space of collaboration using archive film, YouTube playlists and real time communal space. My project reformulates Tropicália’s ‘cannibalistic’ practices of appropriation and cross-cultural fusion but, taking an analogy from smart energy networks, aims to ‘co-model’ the cultural energy of decolonisation emerging in South America (Mignolo, 2011) rather than ‘consume’ it. By engaging ecological theory and practice with popular, mashup and ‘ordinary culture’ (Williams, 1958) in a politicised reengagement with 20th century modernism (Bishop, 2013), my practice led research pushes the boundaries of planetarity (Spivak, 2003) towards interdisciplinary and collective emergence.


  • Ros Gray
  • Stephen Johnstone