Curators Talk: Eugenio Valdés Figueroa and Marcio Botner

1 February 2009 2pm - 4pm

Working at the Intersection of Art and Pedagogy in South America: Reflections from Rio de Janeiro

Part of the AGYU curatorial residency with Eugenio Valdés Figueroa and Marcio Botner

Sunday 1 February 2009, 2–4PM

Presented by The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), Eugenio Valdés Figueroa, Director of Art Education and Research at Casa Daros (Botafogo, RJ) and Marcio Botner, Co-Director of A Gentil Carioca (Centro, RJ) will discuss their two very different but equally innovative contemporary art centres located in culturally diverse areas of Rio de Janeiro that, through programming and a direct connection to their local communities, have paved the way for the development of new institutional and artist-run models for South America.

Come to Mercer Union and find out more about their projects, radical curatorial exhibition practices, and education-based outreach projects that have been taking place in the galleries, in the streets, and in the favelas of Rio, transforming the relationship of art to the people through the work of these two key figures.


Marcio Botner is an artist, curator, and cultural worker born in Rio de Janeiro in 1970. In 2003, together with artists Ernesto Neto and Laura Lima, he founded A Gentil Carioca gallery in one of the oldest most multicultural areas of downtown Rio. A Gentil Carioca was conceived in a melting pot with a view to capturing and disseminating artistic diversity in Brazil and the world. Embedded in the mandate of the gallery and practiced by the artists who run it is the belief that each work of art is a cultural particle with the potency to illuminate culture and education. Botner has exhibited his work internationally and is Vice-President of the School of Visual Arts of Rio de Janeiro where he has taught since 2003. He is also Coordinator of Training Program of Casa Daros.

Eugenio Valdés Figueroa is a curator, art critic, and art historian born in Havana, Cuba in 1963. Instrumental to the development of and a key figure in contemporary Cuban art, he was co-curator of the Havana Biennial for several years, a member of the Department of Research on Contemporary Art at the Wilfredo Lam Centre, and lecturer at Superior Institute of Art, Havana. From 1991 to 1997 he was researcher in situ on contemporary Sub-Saharan African art in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, Angola, and South Africa. He has curated numerous exhibitions in Canada (Stretch at the Power Plant, 2003, for example) and internationally and his texts on art and pedagogy have been widely published (such as the last issue of Parachute). He is a member of the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC) and the artistic collective RAIN. He is currently the Director of Art Education and Research at Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro.

The Curatorial Residency

During their AGYU curatorial residency, Figueroa and Botner are conducting studio visits with local artists and, as a part of their research into Canada’s parallel gallery system, visiting Toronto’s Artist-Run-Centres. In conjunction with their residency, the AGYU and York’s Faculty of Education organized an invitational symposium on the subject of the pedagogical intersection of contemporary art and education outreach. While the overarching purpose of Figueroa and Botner’s visit was to further the discussion (ongoing since 2006) between Casa Daros in Rio de Janeiro and the AGYU towards the creation of an international artist/education residency exchange, the symposium focused on bringing together local and international individuals who inhabit this art/education intersection, either as innovative thinkers or artist practitioners in order to gain fresh perspectives on this important thematic.

The Art Gallery of York University is a university-affiliated public non-profit contemporary art gallery supported by York University, The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and our membership.

The Art Gallery of York University would like to thank the Prince Claus Fund, Zurich, for their contribution toward flights to Toronto for Eugenio Valdés Figueroa and Marcio Botner.

Currently on exhibition at AGYU: Daniel Borins and Jennifer Marman, A Project for a New American Century (28 January – 29 March 2009)

For more information please contact Emelie Chhangur, Assistant Director/Curator, AGYU or 416.736.5169.