Kency Cornejo

Associate Professor, Contemporary Latin American & Latinx Art

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. Specifically, she explores creative responses to femicide, immigration, prisons, captivity, transnationalism, gangs, and Indigenous rights in Central America, as well as the role of art and visuality in coloniality and decoloniality.

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. 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: “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).

Her forthcoming essays include “Central America at Self-Help Graphics: Camaraderie and Art-Making in the City of Angels.” Her forthcoming book with Duke University Press 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, a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Faculty Award Grant.  She has been invited to present and teach on her work in the U.S., Canada, Central America, Mexico, Brazil, and Lebanon.


Chicanx and Latinx Art
Modern Latin American Art
Experimental Art and Politics in Latin America, Post-1968
Decoloniality, Indigeneity, and Art in Latin America
Contemporary Art of Central America and its Diaspora
Decolonial Aesthetics
Art and Feminisms in Latin America
Contemporary Art & New Media
Global Modern Art
Philosophy & Methods of Art History