Kency Cornejo

Andrea Polli headshot

Kency Cornejo

Associate Professor

Associate Professor, Art History

Kency Cornejo is an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of New Mexico where she teaches Contemporary Latin American and Latinx Art Histories. She received her PhD in Art History and Visual Studies from Duke University, her MA from UT Austin, and her BA from UCLA. She is also a proud first-gen and community college transfer student. Born to Salvadoran immigrant parents and raised in Compton, California, Dr. Cornejo’s experience with Imperialism, institutional racism, and forced migration inform her political and academic endeavors. Her research and pedagogy focus on art of Central America and its US-based diaspora, visual politics and activism in the Americas, and decolonizing methodologies in art and art history.

Dr. Cornejo is committed to mentorship, especially for first-generation, transfer students, and students of color. She has mentored fellows in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program; Mellon May Fellows Program; El Puente Research Fellow Program; and IUPLR/Mellon Fellows Mentorship Program. She serves on student committees across disciplines including Art History, Museum Studies, American Studies, Latin American Studies, and Art Studio. At UNM she is affiliated faculty with the Latin American and Iberian Institute; Southwest Hispanic Research Institute; Institute for the Study of “Race” and Social Justice; and the Feminist Research Institute.

Dr. Cornejo has published academic articles on various Central American art topics. They include: “Central America at Self-Help Graphics: Camaraderie and Art-Making in the City of Angels” in Self Help Graphics at Fifty: A Cornerstone of Latinx Art and Collaborative Artmaking (2023); “Sonic Healing in the Age of Border Imperialism: The Art of Guadalupe Maravilla” in Guadalupe Maravilla: Portals (2021); “Writing Art Histories From Below: A Decolonial Guanaca-Hood Perspective” in Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture Journal (2019); “US Central Americans in Art and Visual Culture” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature (2019); “Decolonial Futurisms: Ancestral Border Crossers, Time Machines, and Space Travel in Salvadoran Art,” in Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas (2017); “Counter Visual Narratives: Central American Art on Migration and Criminalization” in Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies (2017); “Honduras-Artistas en Resistencia” in Collective Situations: Readings in Contemporary Latin American Art 1995-2010 (2017); “The Question of Central American-Americans in Latino Art and Pedagogy” in Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies (2015); “No Text without Context: Habacuc Guillermo Vargas’s Exposition #1” in Art and Documentation/Sztuka i Dokumentacja (2014) ; and “Indigeneity and Decolonial Seeing in Contemporary Art of Guatemala” in FUSE Magazine (2013).

Dr. Cornejo is author of the book Visual Disobedience: Art and Decoloniality in Central America with Duke University Press (October 2024), which analyzes over twenty-five years of art and decoloniality in Central America.

Among other fellowships, her work has been supported by the Fulbright and Ford Foundations, an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Faculty Award Grant.