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Latin American and Caribbean Collection

Detail: El Bote (The Boat) by Cornelis Jacominus Zitman

The Spencer’s collection encompasses the artistic traditions of indigenous, Latino, and Creole communities throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. Latin American holdings span an array of media, including ceramics, paintings, and works on paper.

Much of the Latin American collection reflects the active research interests of KU faculty and students. Field collections from Mexico, Paraguay, and Peru enrich understandings of indigenous communities inhabiting these areas from the mid–20th century to the present. Others speak to the political instability that has characterized the modern history of Latin America. Materials pertaining to Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), as well as other Latin American folk art, add to the collection the same whimsy and vitality that pervade Latin American communities today.

In 2011, the Museum received a transformative donation from Harry and Mary Lou Vansant Hughes of nearly 100 works by important 20th-century Haitian artists. These paintings and sculptures constitute one of the most significant concentrations of modern art from Haiti in the United States.