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Video art mirrors Latin American socioeconomic issues

The IDB Cultural Center opens its Third Inter-American Biennial of Video Art Exhibit on December 4 to broaden the discussion of economic and social issues in Latin America and the Caribbean through the creative channel of video art and documentaries. 

This new video art exhibit, which runs through January 19, displays a great deal of diversity and offers different visions of current issues in the region, ranging from  faulty social policies and chaotic cities to ecological disasters.

For example, one of the winning videos, “The Avila,” by Venezuelan Zeinab Rebeca Bulhossen Hernández, invites reflection on the destiny of an emblematic national park in the city of Caracas, invaded by shantytowns that have turned the natural sanctuary into an ecological disaster.  The nostalgia implicit in the video’s soundtrack typifies the progressive loss of the most important natural resource in the capital city.

But not only that. There is humor and good technique within videos selected for the exhibit.  Some are documentaries, while others are highly creative, but all of them comprise a wide range of possibilities for understanding Latin American and Caribbean culture.

The exhibit has on display 19 videos from nine countries that were selected from among 211 works submitted from 20 countries and Puerto Rico to make up the Third Biennial of Video Art.

Félix Ángel, IDB Cultural Center curator and director of the Video Biennial, underscored that the number of works submitted in the call for the Third Biennial increased 30 % compared with the Second Biennial.

In addition, the quality of the videos appeared to be more professional, and the themes more focused on the objectives of the competition, he noted.  The objectives included (1) to broaden the discussion of economic and social factors that affect Latin America and the Caribbean, (2) to encourage those artists working in the cultural milieu to use their creative abilities to formulate viewpoints that enhance public awareness and understanding of those factors, and (3) to establish a benchmark for the advancement of video art as a form of expression in the region.

“This is satisfying because the Biennial aims to inspire artists in the Americas who are working steadily with video art technology,” Ángel said. And the Biennial continues to awaken interest among artists of the younger generation, as well as among those more experienced.

The IDB Cultural Center values opportunity, now that the agenda of the IDB has shifted to "opportunities for the majority," as Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the IDB, expressed so eloquently in June 2006.

The Third Inter-American Biennial of Video Art will be exhibited at the Istituto Italo-Latino Americano (IILA) in Rome in June of 2007.  A full-color brochure with the list of selected entries will be available in English and Spanish at the exhibition in Washington. Awards were delivered to the winners through the IDB Offices in the respective countries.

Additional information

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.