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A sample of photos from @Studioquri's online collection. Image by Eric Widemann.

Information Systems major Huascar Gabriel Eguino uses Instagram to shine a light on pan-American aesthetics

When senior Information Systems major Huascar Gabriel Eguino entered college, his demanding schedule prevented him from taking classes in his other passions, including art. So he reframed his schedule, thought creatively and used the tools at his disposal, including Instagram, to launch @Studioquri.

@Studioquri is the creative brainchild of Eguino and his sister, Leila Eguino, who dedicated an Instagram page to spreading awareness of and showing pan-American aesthetics and history. Displaying artwork from famous Latin American painters to stills from obscure South American films, @Studioquri is an online exhibit paying homage to a wide range of pan-American creatives. Each post offers a caption telling the story behind the image, giving followers insightful perspectives into every post. 

The Retriever sat down for a brief conversation with Eguino to discover where his love for art comes from, why he created @Studioquri and what it is like to study something outside of one’s interests.

“How did you come up with the idea of making a pan-American art page on Instagram?”

Eguino: “I was mostly inspired by what my parents did. They were pretty involved in the art scene in Bolivia. Once they arrived in the States, they started a project promoting Andean art, so they created a website and collaborated with artists to try to promote Andean art.”

“So is @Studioquri a collective effort or is it just your project?”

Eguino: “It’s mostly just me and my sister Leila doing the research. She studied art, art history actually, so she had knowledge of the subject. For me it’s more about having a creative outlet, learning about my culture, while promoting my culture as well.”

“One thing I noticed about your page is that every post tells a story, perhaps with a particular emphasis on the political culture in Latin America: is that something that you did intentionally? Using art as a vehicle to discuss Latin American political culture?”

Eguino: “Even though my sister and I are politically interested, I don’t think that it’s something we’re doing on purpose. It has to do more with the fact that many Latin American artists were political people. There’s a lot of artists who try to promote national identity, and not in a fascist way, more in the ‘let’s get our voice heard’ kind of way. The political aspect to the page really just happened naturally.”

“I know that you’re studying information systems at UMBC. Does @Studioquri go along with your major, or is it completely independent of it?”

Eguino: “I think it’s completely independent. I really think my love for art comes from the way I was raised. There would be art all around the house, and music would always be on, so art was always around me.”

“Since this page is independent of your major, do you see yourself working on this page in the long term? Or do you see it more as a short-term project to keep yourself and others artistically stimulated?”

Eguino: “For me, it’s just about promoting South/Latin American art culture in general, I see it as something short-term for now … . Something to keep me in touch with my culture while sharing it with others as well.”

“Based on the content of the page, and your answers, it seems you’re someone who is politically and artistically interested, both in some ways abstract topics. Why did you choose to study information systems, which is a little more practical?”

Eguino: “I think it goes back to my family again. My brother studied political science, and my sister studied art. Just seeing how competitive and demanding those fields are, steered me away from it … . Information systems is a practical study, but it’s also very broad, and I think it will allow me to participate in fields that impact people’s lives. I think those aspects are what primarily drove me towards studying something more practical… I think there’s a big disparity between people in tech-related fields, and those studying the arts … It’s important for people like me who are in tech, to be educated in and appreciative of the arts. Society needs to start seeing studies like art, or political science as vital aspects of human culture.”

In this short conversation, Eguino speaks to many cultural issues. Highlighting that the world we live in today forces people to make very tough choices. Eguino, studying Information Systems must explore his creative interests outside of his academic, or professional career.

Meanwhile, those who choose to study the arts do so with the understanding that pursuing a career in that field will be highly competitive, and most likely less lucrative than other career paths. This is especially true for graphic designers and artists, who are often contracted for work, only being offered ‘free exposure’ in return.

While Eguino uses Instagram to pursue his extracurricular passions, many artists find themselves in an oversaturated and underappreciated market. Eguino’s final sentiment of calling upon people within his field to see the arts as “vital aspects of human culture” has never been more warranted.

Written by probationary writer Eric Widemann,