Latin American Art Shines at Venice’s Prestigious Biennale

Latin American Art Shines at Venice’s Prestigious Biennale
Fecha de publicación: 
14 May 2024
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Marking its 20th anniversary, the Miami New Media Festival showcases Latin American video art at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, reflecting on global narratives of identity and migration.

This year, the Miami New Media Festival (MNMF) celebrates a significant milestone—its 20th anniversary. The festival, renowned for its dedication to cutting-edge digital and video art, is hosted at the majestic Palazzo Bembo in Venice as part of the “Personal Structures” exhibition organized by the European Cultural Centre (ECC). This edition coincides with the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, the most significant art event globally, making this anniversary especially momentous for MNMF.

Since its inception, MNMF, promoted by the Arts Connection Foundation (ACF) since 2006, has evolved from its early days as the International Video Art Festival in Venezuela. Founded by artists Asdrúbal Colmenárez, Adriana Barrios, Gerardo Zavarce, and Andreina Fuentes Angarita, the festival has now firmly established its base in Miami. Over the years, it has become a critical platform for artists exploring new technologies like video art, animation, digital art, augmented reality, videomapping, and the use of electronic devices.

This year’s festival theme, “Strangers Everywhere,” mirrors the Biennale’s theme and explores the concept of alienation and identity through a special selection of video art spanning the festival’s two-decade history. This selection includes poignant works from countries as diverse as Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Portugal, Venezuela, and the United States, showcasing a rich tapestry of narratives that resonate with global audiences, particularly touching on themes relevant to the Latin American diaspora and beyond.

One of the highlights of this edition is the participation of the collective Food of War, consisting of Hernán Barros, Omar Castañeda, and Andreina Fuentes Angarita. They presented “Journey of Labels,” a video-performance that challenges the iconic Venetian tradition of gondoliering. This performance rewrites the narrative by featuring men of dark skin in the role of gondoliers, prompting viewers to reflect on the power of art to dismantle barriers and foster dialogues on equality and social justice. This piece, supported by Refugees Welcome Italia, includes performances across various Venetian locales, effectively turning the city into a stage for critical engagement with issues of immigration and identity.

Over its 20-year trajectory, MNMF has cultivated an artistic ecosystem that has supported over 210 artists and creators from more than 15 countries. It has extended its network across Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia, with exhibitions in cities like Miami, Rome, Venice, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Caracas, Maracaibo, Valencia, San Cristóbal, Mérida, Lima, Bogotá, Santo Domingo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

MNMF is unique in that it imposes no restrictions on the nationality or residence of its artists, allowing it to showcase a diverse array of over 700 videos, installations, digital artworks in 3D, and performances. Each year, the festival promotes reflection on different curatorial propositions, addressing a wide range of themes from global concerns to specific cultural narratives, further cementing its role as a promoter and defender of pressing global issues.

The inclusion of Latin American artists and themes in an event as prestigious as the Venice Biennale not only highlights the region’s vibrant cultural output but also brings important discussions on migration, identity, and the role of digital media in art to a global audience. The MNMF’s ongoing commitment to these themes is particularly poignant at a time when discussions about identity and belonging are more relevant than ever.

As the Miami New Media Festival continues to evolve, it remains a beacon for innovative art and a platform where Latin American voices can engage with global audiences, fostering a deeper understanding of the diverse and dynamic nature of contemporary art in our interconnected world.

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