• (esq. para dir.) Mario Caro, Gabriela Salgado, Ika Sienkiewicz e Sabrina Moura

    (esq. para dir.) Mario Caro, Gabriela Salgado, Ika Sienkiewicz e Sabrina Moura

  • Gabriela Salgado

    Gabriela Salgado

  • Ika Sienkiewicz

    Ika Sienkiewicz

  • Mario Caro

    Mario Caro

  • Sabrina Moura

    Sabrina Moura

Festival discusses trans-nationality and cultural exchange

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posted on 11/10/2013
Panel featured curators and researchers Gabriela Salgado, Ika Sienkiewicz and Mario Caro

At the meeting “Trans-nationality” as horizon, which closed Focus 3 of the 18th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, the Argentinean curator Gabriela Salgado, Poland’s curator and cultural manager Ika Sienkiewicz, and the researcher and art critic Mario Caro debated the cultural exchange experiences of artists from different countries who engaged in artist residencies. The panel was mediated by Sabrina Moura, the Public Programs curator for the festival’s ongoing edition.

The director of the Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) Ujazdowski Castle, Sienkiewicz says the old East-West opposition that marked the Cold War world no longer makes sense to Eastern European countries since the demise of communism, in 1989.

According to her, following the end of the communist regime in the region, an exchange with Western countries began taking place immediately in Poland. She cites France, Germany and the United States as three examples of countries which have sponsored artistic development in the region.

The creator of A-I-R, Poland’s first artist residency program, established in 2002, Sienkiewicz believes this type of initiative is “the best possible trans-national exchange program.”

According to her, from 2009 on, Poland stopped looking up to the West alone, and started paying attention to Eastern Europe as well. “We saw interesting things taking place in our Eastern neighbors, such as Ukraine, and we decided to open up to Eastern Europe,” she says. Now, the initiative has been extended into the Middle East, in countries like Pakistan.

The Argentinean-born, London-based Gabriela Salgado recounted her experiences with African artists and intellectuals. “People will often go to Africa and say it was amazing, that they discovered a new world. That wasn’t the case with me,” she says. “The conversations I had with African artists and intellectuals were the same as the ones I had with artists and intellectuals from elsewhere.”

Regarding Brazil’s relations with Africa in the art field, Salgado notes the obvious influence of African culture on Brazilian dancing, music, and even film. “When it comes to the visual arts it’s a different story,” she says. “The image we get from Brazil is that of a ‘white’ country.”

To Salgado, Brazil should look to contemporary Africa and absorb the continent’s artistic moment into its own arts, composing the racial diversity which characterizes the country. “Brazil doesn’t want to look to contemporary Africa. Everything is relayed to colonial history,” she says, moving on to critique the “Europeanization” of arts studies. “We study European art here, in Africa, everywhere. And yet the history of European art is not the be-all, end-all history of art. We need to ‘complicate’ this history,” she says.

Mario Caro, who presides over the international residency network Res Artis, discussed his experience promoting art networks among indigenous peoples, and said these populations possess a very strong notion of hospitality, including the welcoming of guests, the involvement with people from a certain locality, and the locality in itself.

He cites the indigenous nations of the United States as examples of trans-nationality, which he believes is not merely a question of locality, but rather a deeper-seated internationalization process. These residencies have arisen out of an initial meeting held in New Zealand, 1995, and attended by artists from the Pacific region. “There are 566 tribes recognized as independent nations in the USA. Their sovereignty is always disputed by the central power. Therefore, they unite,” he says. “Thus,” he posits, “one might say they have always been trans-national.”


Sunday also saw the launch of the book In Residency – Routes to art research in 30 years of Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, which discusses residency experiences throughout the history of the festival.

In the evening, the Southern Panoramas competitive show award ceremony will be held, offering nine residencies to the 94 artists featured.