When the coronavirus pandemic reached Colombia last year, all cultural institutions were forced to close their doors, among them, museums, libraries and the exhibition spaces of the country’s Central Bank – Banco de la República.

The sudden disconnect between artist and audience, at a moment of heightened uncertainty at home and around the world, was bridged by the bank’s curators with a slate of virtual tours and lectures. One platform, Imagen Regional, and created in 1995 to give visibility to artists working in Colombia’s culturally diverse regions, became fundamental in “decentralizing” art from Bogotá, especially as everything “central” was lost with quarantine.

The latest edition of Imagen Regional stays the course of maintaining audience participation and visual narratives based on seven art “stations” that invite spectators to reflect on themes common to all the Colombian territory. This year’s ninth edition, titled Territorios Guardianes (Guardian Territories) presents the works of 92 of 134 participating artists, and in-person exhibit that opened to the public July 29.

With the second floor of the Miguel Urrutia Art Museum (MAMU) showcasing the Guardian Territories until October 25, socially distanced visitors can once again move freely between works that explore contemporary issues, including the personal and societal effects of the ongoing pandemic. The diverse artistic formats that make up each station were curated by Melissa Aguilar, Yolanda Chois and Máximo Flórez, as well as collaborators Valentina Flórez, Alexandra Haddad, Cristo Hoyos, Ana María Lozano, Edinson Quiñones and Luis Fernando Ramírez.

“Imagen Regional 9 was developed during one of the most uncertain moments in recent years. An initiative that offers hope to many participating artists who continue to demonstrate that the creative process is one of resilience,” reads the official introduction. The title Guardian Territories also directly references geographical spaces and the artists “in charge of safeguarding and strengthening the relationship with nature and the non-human.”

The seven themes that make up Imagen Regional were also, in their own right, exhibitions organized by the Central Bank in many of the country’s smaller cities, among them, the opening section Offerings and Ancestral Practices. Other sections that present works by established and emerging artists are Food; Human not human; Architecture utopias and dystopias; Body and time; Opacity; and Material culture.

Imagen Regional represents a unique opportunity for visitors to connect with art that is often sidetracked by Bogotá’s busy gallery circuit, not to mention the many names and hard-earned reputations that transcend this nation’s borders. The Guardian Territories, therefore, strikes a connection with viewers because it is as much about physical spaces as imaginary ones, all presented in a collective so as to better appreciate the world around us, in which we are all guardians of our inner territories.     

Given strict biosecurity protocols all visitors must wear face coverings regardless if fully vaccinated, and regarding crowd limits, best reserve your visit beforehand by clicking on the link below:

https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/MuseodearteMiguelUrrutiaMAMUBogot@BancodelaRepublica.onmicrosoft.com/bookings/

MAMU. Calle 11 No.4-21. Closed Tuesdays.

Memorial en Tierra/Paula Sánchez