Museari Queer Art 5. Exhibition for the defense of human rights and sexual diversity
By Prof. Pilar Viviente
Vision as text
Words as an image
Representations of the human
In its diversity
From the past
‘The Forgetfulness We Will Be’
Remember the people who fought for Human Rights
On June 28, International LGBTI Pride Day, the inauguration of the fifth edition of the Museari Queer Art 5 took place at the Colegio Mayor Rector Peset (Rector Peset Residence). The contemporary art exhibition Museari Queer Art is an art show advocating for human rights and LGTBIQ diversity. The exhibition is part of the University of Valencia Pride Day celebration program promoted by Diversitats, has the support of the Vice-Rector for Culture and Sports of the University of Valencia and has been curated by Ricard Huerta, artist and professor of Didactics of the Plastic Expression at the University of Valencia and director of museari.com.
The exhibition, organized by Museari and the Rector Peset Residence brings together 24 works by artists from six different countries, who have exhibited from june 2019 to july 2021 at Museari.com, an online museum dedicated to the research and dissemination of art in favor of sexual diversity and human rights. The opening ceremony featured speeches by the director of the Rector Peset Residence, Carles Xavier López, the curator and director of Museari, Ricard Huerta, and the Vice-Rector for Culture and Sports of the UV, Ester Alba.
The artists who exhibit their work are: Pablo Sandoval (Spain), Daniasa Curbelo (Spain), Yolanda Herranz (Spain), David Vila (Spain), O.R.G.I.A (Spain), Felipe Rivas (Chile), Mogares Doyân (Spain), Maria Macêdo (Brazil), Bartolomé Limón (Spain), Lucas Villi (Brazil), Eduardo Bruno & Waldirio Castro (Brazil), Ahmet Rustem (Turkey), Wellington Soares (Brazil), Pilar Viviente (Spain), Laerte Coutinho (Brazil), Carol Luz (Brazil), Vinicius Figueiredo (Brazil), Wandeallyson Landim (Brazil), Mau Monleón Pradas (Spain), Benjamin Martinez (Mexico), Fabián Cháirez (Mexico), Andy Retana (Costa Rica), Sussy Vargas (Costa Rica), Man Yu (Costa Rica).
MUSEARI, ‘Museu de l’imaginari’ (Museum of the imaginary – museari.com , is an online museum, a permanent, non-profit institution, at the service of society and open to the public, which acquires, conserves, studies, exhibits and disseminates its heritage. The main objectives of Museari are the promotion of art education and history as fundamental instruments for the defense of human rights, with special emphasis on respect for sexual diversity.
According to the organizers, the challenge of the approach of this edition of Museari Queer Art has been to present the own means of exhibition of the virtual museums together with those of the traditional exhibition spaces and in a harmonized way, in such a way that the visitors could follow the exhibition discourse through diverse artistic formats. Some works are original and others use means of reproduction and ICT tools in different ways, including engaging the viewer with their mobile devices to access virtual content. In short, the exhibition addresses a wide range of dimensions: artistic, inclusive and technological.
The exhibition stands out for the quality and diversity of proposals it offers, with an exquisite exhibition display, which unfolds on both sides of the impressive Arab wall of the city of Valencia that gives its name to the exhibition hall: The Wall Room (Sala de la Muralla). The Islamic wall runs through part of the historic center of the city of Valencia, built under the reign of Abd al-Aziz is described by the geographer al-Udri as one of the most perfect in Al-Andalus. The hall of the Wall is the most emblematic of the University residence, since in it we can contemplate remains of this Islamic Wall of the eleventh century, which appeared during the rehabilitation works, such as the base of the wall and a curved tower, which after its research and archeological excavation, they decided to recover as a historical-archaeological monument. The Wall Room is a space of 300 square meters and multipurpose use, on the one hand it is an exhibition hall and on the other, once the exhibition schedule has ended, it hosts an important part of the cultural activity of the Residence such as concerts, book presentations, round tables, conferences…
The Wall Room that hosted Museari Queer Art 2021 has two spaces located on either side of the striking Eleventh-Century Arab Wall that are connected by a bridge located on the right. It has an interesting symbolic meaning. Art is about connecting with people’s emotions and thoughts. Wall in and wall out are connected by a bridge, that is, connecting cultures and people. It is by making bridges instead of walls that we promote diversity. All of this helps bring about a positive process of social inclusion.
The exhibition breaks molds and offers a polyhedral look from diverse subjectivities, unique and singular, with a variety of techniques and means of expression, but whose personal narratives share the social perspective of art as an agent of change. No, it is not a utopia, it is a reality. It is the social function of art and art education. The exhibition is certainly a pleasure for the senses and a stimulus for the intellect. But also, a very special tribute to Rector Peset (portrayed in the mural painting of the hall of the building that bears his name), a good man, a prestigious academic and scientist, who was shot by the Franco dictatorship after the end of the Civil War.
As the University of Valencia points out on its website: “Also, to the expository speech is added the proposal of reading in parallel fragments of the testimonial novel ‘El olvido que seremos’ (The Forgetfulness We Will Be), written by the son of the doctor specialist in Public Health and professor Héctor Abad Gómez, murdered on August 25, 1987 in Medellín, with whom a lace of concomitant looks is established with the figure of Joan Baptista Peset Aleixandre, in order to pay tribute to him on the 80th anniversary of his death to which he was a doctor and politician, as well as professor and rector of the University of Valencia during the Second Republic, and whose name receives the Colegio Mayor Rector Peset as its own to keep alive its memory and serve its last wills expressed in the last letter addressed to his family on May 24, 1941, date on which he was shot in Paterna by the Franco dictatorship.
All because we do not forget so much cruelty, to remember, in short, the people who have fought for human rights, and have suffered unjustly persecution, and even death.” See: La Sala de la Muralla acoge la quinta edición de Museari Queer Art, una exposición que reactiva la actividad cultural del Colegio Mayor Rector Peset, (The Wall Room hosts the fifth edition of Museari Queer Art, an exhibition that reactivates the cultural activity of the Residence Rector Peset). https://www.uv.es/uvweb/colegi-major-rector-peset/ca/novetats/exposicio-museari-queer-art-5-celebrar-dia-internacional-orgull-lgtbiq-1285923459130/Novetat.html?id=1286203596959
In a broader sense, Museari Queer Art 5 pays tribute to those that has been fighting the rise of fascism and dictatorship through their life. As a matter of fact, the one who fights against fascism fights against any kind of abuse or inequality that threatens real Democracy, social equality, freedom, and equal opportunity. Human rights means anti-corruption, thus saving democracy. Real Democracy is far away from lobbyists and corporate control. There, I tell you, there are human rights in our daily lives. Human rights affect people’s rights in everyday life. Let the people know them, and constantly remember them.
The age of human rights has come in the twentieth Century and has new challenges in the 21st Century. Is time to face discrimination, harassment, exclusion and injustice. Either way, be it through intent or negligence, when we erode human rights, democracy and the rule of law suffer. And, perversely, our way of life becomes less – not more – secure. So, how can someone insist that the problem is not yours? Also tomorrow it will be the problem of your descendants. Your consciousness is not yours, it is the whole of humanity that matters. The consciousness is the entire humanity. Then the challenge for all of us is to continue to stand up for the protection of basic rights and freedoms. And also believe that this is how we move forward in this new era.
Let me back to my article for March 2016 of Socialist Factor magazine (Enrique Meneses, Spanish Henri Cartier-Bresson). According to my friend the master Enrique Meneses (RIP), who stood up for democracy and human rights all his life through writing and photographs, the 21st Century is the century of the struggle for human rights since the achievements of the twentieth century are in danger. Human rights are in danger, even today, when the values of democracy, open society, respect for human rights, and equality are becoming recognized all over the world as universal values. He insisted multiple times that this will be the Achilles heel of the 21st Century, the most weak or vulnerable point of society. Never forget this, he said to me in May 2011.
Always stand up for freedom of speech and human rights. Human rights is, in many ways, a technical term for some very simple concepts: dignity, humanity, tolerance and respect. That includes your rights in everyday life as a worker, your job or own business, relationships with dealers, agents, colleagues, friends, family, etc. It is a demand here for the peaceful coexistence and dignity of all human beings, regardless of race, sex, religion or social status. This universal message is a main reference worldwide for the struggle for human rights and justice, and a lead example on peace, tolerance and nonviolence activism.
On the other hand, around Museari Queer Art 5 an interesting program of activities has been developed, which includes the Museary Awards 2021. The program is available at the University of Valencia website (see link above). On July 29, the presentation of the exhibition catalogue and the closing conference of the Museari Queer Art 5 took place. The conference “The permanent collection of Museari: catalogue and study” by Germán Navarro Espinach, professor of the University of Zaragoza and manager of Museari.com, pointed out that Museari’s 72 exhibitions are somehow an x-ray of Ricardo Huerta as well.
In this sense, we can say that every collection inevitably has an autobiographical character. Specifically, the work of Ricard Huerta is characterized by two aspects, two constants in his extensive artistic production, which, in turn, we can also observe in the exhibition Museari Queer Art 5, and with which it is also possible to structure the different artistic proposals offered by the exhibition Museari Queer Art 2021. One of the backbones is the body, the corporeality, the nude, the human element and its representation, from different perspectives and styles. The other is the word, from its most elementary graphic manifestation, that of the visual alphabet, the pure sign as pattern and symbol (and its formal deconstruction through gesture) to the most complex discursive forms of written language, the text, clearly legible, to communicate explicit contents and as a literary creation.
These two backbones build an artistic story in the particular work of Ricard Huerta, but also in the permanent collection of Museari and in the exhibition Museari Queer Art 5, where the Art education and history as fundamental instruments for the defense of human rights and sexual diversity refers to the main objectives of Museari, with special emphasis on the visibility of the female teacher. Museari is also a museum of women, for feminist vindication, a socially inclusive femenism, which aims to make visible women who have fought for culture and have been or continue to be silenced.
In addition, I would also like to highlight in this exhibition the work of professors from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Miguel Hernández University of Elche, Altea Campus. The reasons are diverse, among others, obviously corporate, since I work at this university since October 1998. Allow me, therefore, to devote a few lines to this.
Professor of the Sculpture Area David Vila exhibits a new sculptural work, entitled Marica Beauty; a nod to the popular title American Beauty. The piece, aesthetically symbolist, pop and kitsch in its irony, is installed on the pavement as a hypnotic visual center, consisting of a fragment of human torso (casting) and surrounded by a red circle that discovers the material from which it is made, packaged strawberry lollipops. It’s outstanding work!
The collective O.R.G.I.A *(Beatriz Higón, Carmen G. Muriana & Tatiana Sentamans) exhibits her work Follar-se la ciutat Vol. III. (2017-2019), presented at Museari in a large banderola format close to the billboard. The monochromatic printing uses as a support for this occasion the towel fabric, to emphasize its deconstruction of female tourist stereotypes and the concept of ‘souvenir’, subject to tourist commodification, and takes as a paradigm the city of Benidorm.
Finally, Professor of the Drawing Area Pilar Viviente exhibits one of the two components of the Pairing (Rodetes & Spanish Sketches), which she presented in her individual in Museari; works of the Rodete series in digital printing on watercolor paper, framed and installed on the wall following a vertical reading. This symbol refers to Iberian matriarchal societies and Mediterranean mythology. According to the professor, the reading of gender is of clear ecofeminist orientation, feminism and artistic activism against environmental problems and climate change.
My brief critical review of these works has been published in Spanish by the Miguel Hernández University: Profesorado de la UMH participa en Valencia en la muestra ‘Museari Queer Art 5’. https://comunicacion.umh.es/2021/07/22/profesorado-de-la-umh-participa-en-valencia-en-la-muestra-museari-queer-art-5/
I have not asked the artists about their opinion on the place of their work in the exhibition, as part of the totality of the works exhibited and in dialogue with them. Personally, I am very pleased being between the Puerto Rican artist Sussy Vargas and the Arab wall. I want to express my thanks. Two artists so distant geographically and aesthetically speaking, but so close in what they represent for gender equality and feminism. I really like when the work of two female artists are closely related but are so different in terms of technique and artistic style.
Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone for their contribution to this event. To all those mentioned in the catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition, but also to many others whose names have not been mentioned and also to the public who have visited the exhibition, and who without their support and solidarity this event would not have been the same.
1. Poster of Museari Queer Art 5.
2. Opening Ceremony. Carles Xavier López, Director of the Rector Peset Residence, and Ester Alba.
Vice-Rector for Culture and Sports of the UV.
3. Opening Ceremony. Ricard Huerta, Curator and director of Museari, delivering a speech.
4. Exhibition View. Works of Felipe Rivas San Martín, Ahmet Rustem Ekici, Yolanda Herranz Pascual, Sussy Vargas y Pilar Viviente.
5. Exhibition View. Works of O.R.G.I.A and Mogares Doyân.
6. Exhibition View. Works of David Vila and Andy Retana.
7. Museari Queer Art 5 Opening Exhibition.
8. Closing conference by Germán Navarro Espinach.
Photographs by Pilar Viviente, 2021.