Quito, Dec 9 (EFE).- The southern Ecuadorian city of Cuenca is making final preparations for Friday’s inauguration of the 15th edition of its art biennial, an international festival that will showcase the work of 34 artists and offer a vision of sustainability.
A total of 33 works (one of which is shared by two artists) will be spread out over different venues – all within walking distance of one another – in this year’s Bienal Internacional de Cuenca, Ecuador’s most global art exhibition.
Three lines of thought – ancestral and traditional knowledge, critical ecofeminism and “escenarios futuribles” (probable and possible futures) – will be interwoven throughout the event with the goal of making nature and the world’s climate and eco-social crisis the primary focal point.
Curated by Spaniard Blanca de la Torre and titled “Biennial of the Biocene: Change the Green to Blue,” this year’s biennial counts seven Spaniards and numerous Latin Americans among its participating artists, whose works will be on display in that southern highland city until Feb. 28.
One of those participants is Cuban artist Wilfredo Prieto, who told Efe that these types of events “are destined to change the vision of art in general.”
He added that they even call into question “the way in which we understand” art, alluding to large-scale events in which he said artists barely communicate with one another and there is a total detachment from the works.
Prieto said his piece was produced at a cost of less than $10 (roughly 8.8 euros), adding that his idea was for it “to be a work that was very sustainable not only conceptually but also in its execution and realization.”
For her part, Spanish multidisciplinary artist Rosell Meseguer centered her project around Ecuador’s resources and how they serve as essential tools for understanding the country’s political, economic and human realities.
“The idea was to work on how all those resources affect the country’s economy, politics, decisions, even (in the area of) education,” said the artist, who drew upon the periodic table of the elements and received collaboration from the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain and Ecuadorian experts in creating her work.
That work encompasses a total of 45 resources, many of them metals like gold, copper and silver but also non-metallic resources and even intangible assets, all interwoven with the stories that lie behind each of those elements and which link them to Ecuador’s history.
“Coming across a ton of elements of the periodic table that became known in Europe because many times that mineral was brought from the Americas really struck me,” said Meseguer, who uses an old oak table and a display case to exhibit the resources that make up her art.
Sponsored by institutions such as Cooperacion Español, Spain’s international cooperation agency, and directed by Cuenca-based artist Katya Cazar, the latest edition of the biennial will be an in-person event but have a lower number of participants than in past editions.
Two-thirds of the artists are women, the largest proportion in the event’s history.
Three artists will be awarded cash prizes worth $20,000 apiece. EFE