Panamanian art will arrive at the Venice Biennale

Panamanian art will arrive at the Venice Biennale

Four Panamanian artists will make up the Panama pavilion, which will represent the isthmus for the first time in the Biennial, a highly prestigious artistic and cultural event

'Furrows: in the body and in the land', is the name of the pavilion that will represent Panama at the 60th Venice Biennale starting next April 20, this being the first time that the country participates as a delegation in this prestigious event. in which the highlights of contemporary art are presented.
The country will be represented by four Panamanian artists including Isabel de Obaldía, Giana de Dier, Cisco Merel and Brooke Alfaro, who will focus on reflecting Panama's immigration boom through drawings, collages, paintings, glass sculptures and installations. The exhibition will remain in Venice for eight months, until November 24.

This was officially announced at a press conference at the Canal Museum last Friday, January 26.

“The Ministry of Culture, as the governing entity of the State in matters of promotion and protection of cultural expressions, creative processes and Panamanian cultural heritage, endorses, supports and provides accompaniment to this important artistic activity that provides an excellent opportunity for Panama to participate in this, the largest and most prestigious showcase of contemporary art in the world,” said the Minister of Culture, Giselle González Villarué, at the event.

The idea of a Panamanian pavilion at the Venice Biennale came from Ana Elizabeth González, chief curator and executive director of the Canal Museum, who contacted the Biennale to propose Panamanian representation at this event. After receiving the acceptance and invitation, the City of Knowledge and the Art and Culture Foundation joined the project as part of the Organizing Commission of the Panama Pavilion, which also has the support of the Ministry of Culture (MiCultura).

In this way, the pavilion's curatorial team would be made up of González, Mónica Kupfer, from the Art and Culture Foundation, and Luz Bonadies, from the City of Knowledge.

In addition, the architect and national director of museums of Micultura, Itzela Quirós, will serve as the commissioner of this project designated by the ministry. For her part, Luz Bonadies has been appointed as Project Director, ensuring the effective coordination and success of Panama's participation in the Biennial, while Mariana Núñez will play a crucial role as Graphic Director, guaranteeing a visually striking presentation.

“We sent an extensive investigation of Panama as a route and connecting bridge in this global situation that is migration, specifically in our context, which is the migration and passage of people in the Darién, also contextualizing ourselves in the fact that Panama has always been a point of both cultural and commercial connection since the isthmus emerged,” González highlighted.

This version of the Venice Biennale is curated by Adriano Pedrosa and the theme 'Stranieri ovunque', translated into Spanish as 'Foreigners everywhere', offers Panama a unique opportunity to highlight its historical and cultural narrative as a transit country as well as show the world the nascent narratives due to the country's role in the migration phenomenon in Latin America and the world.

The participation of the isthmus in this cultural event marks a milestone in the history of the country's arts, with the expectation of sharing the creativity and unique vision of Panamanians with visitors to this world-renowned event.

For her part, Mónica Kupfer indicated that: “This first national pavilion of Panama at the highly renowned Venice Biennale represents a first step in what should become a tradition: the presence of our country in one of the most significant stages of contemporary art. world. We will be represented by four renowned artists: Brooke Alfaro and Isabel de Obaldía, established figures with careers spanning more than forty years; along with Cisco Merel and Giana de Dier, younger, mid-career creators who have already left their mark on national art. His works fulfill the theme of the 60th Venice Biennale in diverse ways, in paintings, collages, sculptures and installations. “They will offer a valuable testimony of Panamanian creativity.”

However, Kupfer highlighted that for Panama's participation to be sustainable over time, the support and interest of different artistic institutions is necessary that are willing to continue the legacy that this first participation will leave.

The Venice Biennale is expected to provide Panama with a unique platform to highlight its “vibrant artistic ecosystem” in the international arena, with the expectation that participation in this event will not only allow the exhibition of the artistic talent of the isthmus, but also open the doors of the world to the cultural wealth that characterizes Panama.

“We are excited to present the talent of our artists on this prestigious stage, trusting that their works will resonate internationally, consolidating Panama as an essential player in the global artistic dialogue,” concluded the chief curator of the Canal Museum.