Beatriz Bustos Oyanedel

Building bridges to create Space to Dream

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<p>Co-curator of <em>Space to Dream</em>, Beatriz Bustos Oyanedel.</p>

Co-curator of Space to Dream, Beatriz Bustos Oyanedel.


Co-curating Space to Dream: Recent Art from South America was truly a challenging experience which I have come to personally appreciate for how it allowed me to broaden my understanding about what curatorial work really means and implies.

Looking back now on the process I can see matters which I was previously unaware of: the need to establish links to allow greater understanding of the context of the exhibition; consideration of the behaviour of the specific audiences – their expectations, what they know when they enter the exhibition and what they don’t; the strength in having a counterpart who can facilitate the understanding certain aspects of the place. In this specific case to be able to curate a show such as Space to Dream, with its particular characteristics, it was essential to truly have a comprehensive view of the cultural dynamics of New Zealand and of the entire Australasian region, considering its multiple aspects: its multiculturalism, the knowledge or lack of knowledge people might have of the art from South America, the critical view they hold with respect to issues such as art and politics, the coexistence of colonial and indigenous peoples, and the challenges facing our societies. 

Zara Stanhope, my co-curator, always brought to the table that cultural analysis, constantly reminding me of how this exhibition could be read and received in New Zealand. It is thanks to this collaboration that we came to understand along, with our team of curatorial assistants, that to co-curate means to permanently build bridges of constant dialogue in which every decision, large or small, is discussed, analysed and pondered. The bridge we built together led to the experience we are now able to have in Auckland Art Gallery’s level 1 exhibition rooms – a collaborative work from a constant exchange of ideas and knowledge that extends outside the gallery spaces to be seen also in the exhibition’s associated public programmes, comprising lectures, a South American film series, talks, cultural events and an extensive bilingual catalogue.

The act of curating requires for one to be attentive to every detail, but the act of co-curating demands one to build a bridge of permanent dialogue and exchange. Ours bridged the Pacific Ocean and the distinct cultural lives of people from South America and Australasia. We built a strong bridge, without a doubt, which will allow for future collaborations whose direction is yet to be known...

It was an experience that I feel very honoured to have been a part of.