Sunday, 10 March 2013


Panama's Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, normally a disgrace, and which has no decent research, acquisition, or exhibition programme or budget, got some extreme make over in order to host the 8th BAVIC Bienal de Artes Visuales del Istmo Centro Americano. A bienal which urgently needs to change its name from Bavic to Bienal Centroamericana. The Bienal also urgently needs to appoint a curator for each edition, as for the moment there's no context or curatorial script which makes it difficult to the normal visitor to understand what he's seeing. At the moment it is something more similar to the national representations in a beauty contest, where the participating countries (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, but not Belize) send 5 beauty queens to compete (Miss Guatemala, Miss Honduras, etc), and to exhibit their work. More than a Bienale, this is a Panorama of Central American arts, and as such it fulfills its mission of showing what is produced in the region and allowing the regional artists to meet each other. The Biennal would also benefit from reinstalling a system of awards, which would allow its artists to do residences and travel to other places (not necessary USA or Europe, but other countries and residencies in South Ameirca, think for example Videobrasil), as well as in supporting having a unified Central American pavilion or representation at the Venice Bienal, with the Cetral American representation coming out of this bienal, which would help to give more visibility to the art production of the region.

See report of visit to the 7the edition of the Central American Bienale in 2010 here

visit the 8th Central American Bienale website here (unfortunately not in English)

The outsides of the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo

and the insides with the 8th BAVIC Bienal logo

Darién Montañez, Panama, one of the best works in the bienal together with his video below, urban interventions with golden paint and greco roman designs. In his own words "I'm the worst street artist of Panama" but in doing so he signals not only the architectonic bad taste and excess of Panama's money but also marks the evidence of uncontrolled growth and demolition existing in the wannabe Dubai of Central America.

Darién Montañez, video of the currents (and trash they carry) clashing in a local river named Matias Hernandez after a storm

Jose Castrellon, Panama, Kuna Metal, portrait of indigenous members of the Kuna community who also belong to a death metal group

John Juric, Costa Rica, vinyl paintings done in collaboration with the dialysis patients of a hospital

Maruca Gomez (born 1923), Nicaragua, sculptures made of plastic stuff

view of Guatemalan room with works by members of La Torana collective

Josue Romero, Guatemala, Derrocamiento, sculpture bust of Guatemalan dictator and photos of that bust surrounded by pigs

Colectivo La Torana, Guatemala, cables hammock

Plinio Villagran, Guatemala

Marlov Barrios, Guatemala, wood sculptures

Norman Morales, Guatemala, Organic Architecture

Cesar Chinchilla, Honduras, Folkloric Granades

Lester Rodriguez, Honduras, effects of the local african palm oil industry on local peasant farmers

Lucy Argueta, Honduras, aged clothes, memory archeology

Fernando Cortes, Honduras, video in which he cooks pork for a poor family who doesn't even have a table, in the process they start to become friends

Melisa Guevara, El Salvador, map of Central America made of origami cranes, made of teared pages from the Bible

Carolina Parra and Xavier Villafranca, Costa Rica, The Collector

Colectivo 23, Nicaragua, The Machine that will change the Universe

Patricia Belli, Nicaragua, Drawing Machine

Jhafis Quintero, Panama, rubs of prisoners messages, and prisoners autoportraits, done at the same prisson where the artist was held for 10 years

Francisco Malaga, Panama, geometric skate sculptures and video registering their use

Eduard Lytton, El Salvador, digital altar

Alvaro Gomez, Costa Rica, Mare Nostrum, Costa Rica and Nicaragua border table game

Luis Cornejo, El Salvador, post pop paintings

Elena Wen, Costa Rica, On & On & On... video animation

Paulina Velazquez and Travis Johns, plush Annette Messager style sculptures

Panama's art society at the opening, here Moncho and Mrs Galindo

and airport welcoming committee holding the biennals golden pineapple price, Benchoam, Wolfschoon and Galindo together with Troncho (with striped blue tshirt and hat to the right)

Visit to the 8th Bavic was made possible thanks to the support of BAVIC, Diablo Rosso Panama, La Tunca Palace El Salvador and the CPPC/ICI Central America Travel Grant

No comments:

Post a Comment