I’m thrilled to be a speaker at the Positionality symposium in Toronto, hosted by Sur Gallery, to be held April 21-25.
The symposium seeks to address the systemic barriers faced by the Latin American and Latinx community in Canada and will identify common grounds from where to begin an analysis with the intention to develop strategies of resistance, build networks of solidarity and exchange, improve the livelihood of art practitioners, and grant opportunities for an underrepresented community.
I will be speaking as part of the Day 1: Power of Advocacy and Collectivity panel, speaking about the Mujer Artista group as a case study as a new way of working with the established art institution in Winnipeg. The panel will be held at 12 noon (EST/Toronto)
About Cecilia Araneda
Chilean-Canadian filmmaker and media art curator Cecilia Araneda came to Canada as a child as a refugee after her family escaped Chile’s military dictatorship. She holds a BFA (hons) from York University and an MFA from the University of British Colombia. Her short films have been presented at film festivals and art museums around the world, and have been recognized with a number of national and international awards and distinctions. From 2006 to 2017, Araneda served as Executive Director of the storied Winnipeg Film Group, the largest independent media arts centre on the prairies. In 2005, she co-founded the Winnipeg-based WNDX Festival of Moving Image. In 2015, she co-founded Mujer Artista, a group of prairie-based Latin women artists. In 2019, she became the first ever prairie recipient of the national Joan Lowndes Award from the Canada Council for the Arts, for her independent curatorial practice. Araneda has more recently completed her first feature film, Intersection, staring Carmen Aguirre, to be released in fall 2022.
Working within the Winnipeg-based artist run centre system for decades, Cecilia Araneda observed repeated cycles of the sector attempting to become more equitable and inclusive, but soon stalling in the face of the complexity of this work. In the midst of this, generations of artists from underserved demographics were continually losing access to knowledge and opportunities that could help move their careers forward, as the art institution constantly struggled with how to enact meaningful change. Araneda hypothesized that entering into a relationship of equals with historically white art institutions to gain access to their resources while remaining unburdened by their internal politics could move along the careers of artists faster than any other mechanism. Thus, Mujer Artista was born in 2015, formed together with artists Praba Pilar and Monica Martinez. Since that time, Mujer Artista has supported the work and development of 20 Latin women artists and presented two group exhibitions in Winnipeg, with a third one opening on May 20. In this presentation, Araneda will give an overview of the Mujer Artista model and how it functions within the Winnipeg arts landscape.
Relationships between art and sociopolitical practices are essential in the contemporary cultural context. Artists, cultural organizations, and critics respond to a unique historical moment in which the ways of understanding our relationships, the fabric of our communities, the languages of power, and the historical reasons manifested in society, face an evident change in how we live. These circumstances act in two ways for the Latin American artist diaspora. On the one hand, artists face the problems of a society that receives them, establishing a dialogue and striving to find a place within that artistic ecosystem. On the other hand, artists cannot avoid their place of origin and challenge a system in which they end of living in. In both cases, the role of cultural promoters are essential to integrate these two political and social outcomes. These actors fulfill the function of advocacy and defence. The artists find a place for their work within these communities in which they are granted opportunities for professional growth. In addition, these groups provide an opportunity for open dialogue between the two hemispheres.
This panel will present the point of view of those actors and promoters that seek to establish a space for dialogue and openness for contemporary and community based artistic creation and practice.