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A century of painting in Panama

The IDB celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Panama with an exhibition that presents 29 paintings by 25 Panamanian artists. “To celebrate the century that Panama has been a nation is to celebrate the youngest of all the young republics of Latin America. Like all nations, Panama is a complex and collective creation, so what could better represent it than the dimension of creativity that is the freest of all: the arts,” said Mirna Liévano de Marques, IDB External Relations Advisor.

The works, selected by Curator Félix Angel from private and public collections in Panama and Washington DC, give an overview of the development of painting in Panama over the century. Although the concept of art has broadened noticeably in recent years, painting has been and remains the principal means of aesthetic expression in Panama.

The exhibition includes paintings by Roberto Lewis, an early 20th century artist, mid-century painters such as Alfredo Sinchair, Julio Zachrisson and Guillermo Trujillo, and contemporary artists such as Brooke Alfaro and Teresa Icaza.

Panama and the IDB

Panama has a long association with the IDB, having been one of the Bank’s founding members in 1959. In 2002, the Bank approved five loans to Panama for a total of $67,6 million, and two more so far in 2003, for a total of $45,5 million. On a cumulative basis, the Bank has made 121 loans to Panama totaling $2.03 billion.
The country also has several characteristics that distinguish it from other Latin American nations. Panama is a historic point of hemispheric transit, a crossroads between north and south and the Pacific and the Caribbean, which is the Mediterranean Sea of the Americas. Its unique history is linked to Spain, Colombia and the United States. For many years Panama was considered a South American nation, while in more recent times it has become closer to the countries of Central America, with which Panama shares aspirations for economic integration.

The construction of enormous public works in transportation and communications during the latter part of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century—particularly railroads and the inter-oceanic canal—produced migrations that transformed Panama’s social and political topography and enriched its religious, cultural and linguistic patrimony. Today, the country’s diverse population includes not only indigenous groups, but also people of European, African, Caribbean and Asian origin.

The IDB has long supported not only economic and social development in Panama, but also its integration initiatives with the Central American countries. With this exhibition, the Bank has the opportunity to celebrate Panama’s culture, that subtle dimension of a society that liberates the mind, spurs the imagination, and strengthens a nation’s identity and social fabric.

Additional information

The exhibition was organized by the IDB Cultural Center and will be open until January 16, 2004. For additional information about the IDB Cultural Center and its programs, please call (202) 623-3774. A free 40-page full-color catalog reproducing all works in the exhibition is available to the public. For photographs, please call (202) 623-1213.

The IDB Cultural Center Art Gallery is located at 1300 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. and is open five days a week, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., free of charge. The nearest Metro station is Metro Center.

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