A work of art from the Mia Art Collection portfolio.
Muhammad Yusuf, Feature Writer
MIA Art Collection Virtual Museum MIA Anywhere is an online Aladdin cave that houses around 1,000 works of art from around the world. This is a private art collection founded by Alejandra Castro Rioseco, with a global footprint aimed at promoting women artists and their work.
“We were the first to create a virtual museum – MIA Anywhere – during the pandemic, and we set it up for the public within three days,” recalls Rioseco. “First we started with our collection, then we created four rooms for artists, galleries and organizations to exhibit.
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“It was a success, because of the visibility we were able to give to artists, and especially when we were able to give people the opportunity to discover a museum at such a critical moment in our history.”
Rioseco talks to Gulf Today
What made you an art collector?
I believe that a person does not become something if he does not have a need inside … in my personal case it is the need for the beauty of harmony and balance, the need the deep message to see the mind through the art gaze. Art is the framework of our history, and through art we can understand our past and see how artists of today see what future history will be.
Why do you support the art of women?
We support women’s art because we have to strike a balance in valuing art. Today, women’s art is less visible; museums do not exceed 20 percent of the works of women exhibited in their halls, art galleries sell less female art and finally, women artists are valued less than male artists in the world. MIA Art Collection decided a few years ago that this will be our way of working towards a more egalitarian, more just and therefore more balanced society. MIA Art Collection does not present male artists, but only female artists.
UAE-based art promoter Alejandra Castro Rioseco.
How does art empower women?
Art has the power to transform, to bring out what is inside. Supporting the world of women in art is essential for them to continue to create. A person who does not feel that their work is valued is an unhappy person – the same thing happens in art. This is why we are so happy with what Expo 2020 Dubai has done – put art in its pavilions and create a public art program where the role of the female artist has been highly appreciated and well. received. In this case, it is an example of how a society thrives in balance and harmony.
What prompts you to buy a particular work of art?
There are many factors: the first is the message of the artwork, the context, the story behind each artist, how they develop it, how they express it and finally, how we and our art curators. let’s see it. The works that enter the MIA art collection must be works that meet several parameters such as the message it conveys, the process of creation, respect for the environment, sustainability and freedom from abuse. animals. We are very attentive to each work that we acquire because we know that it will be a legacy – and that requires a great responsibility.
What qualities of Arab art attract you?
Phew! So much! Arab art for me has a unique context and history. The way he mixes history with language and culture, including that of ancestors. The talent of Emirati artists is enormous; they are strong and sensitive women at the same time, and they manage to capture all this information in very beautiful works of art, with a history and a very strong human sense. I think Emirates’ cultural work has been exceptional!
As a Chilean, you must see some common traits between South American-Hispanic and Arab-Emirati cultures. What do they have in common?
Even though I was born in Chile, I don’t feel very represented by this culture, because my ancestors are Spanish – and there are huge similarities there. The origin is the same, the culture, the value for the family, the traditions, the music, the food, our way of daily life. I have found a lot in this land which has given me great Arab friends from whom I learn about culture, traditions and religion. The Spaniards are very similar to the Arabs: we like the same things and we communicate and understand each other perfectly. We love and respect the same things and values.
You intend to open up a physical space for art. How far have they progressed? Will it be in the United Arab Emirates or elsewhere?
MIA Art Collection has worked for several years with architects from different parts of the world to come up with the project that best represents what the Collection does.
We presented the idea of building an art space exclusively for women, and we received many proposals from different parts of the world. But my family and I live in the Emirates and we think this is the perfect one
place to create a dream like this, because the country offers opportunities and opens doors to everything related to culture and art.
We decided to do something really unique – the way things are done in the UAE.
What are the assets that make the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf the spearheads of the popularization of regional art?
The advantages are numerous: the Emirates have today become the center of the world. Everyone is watching and learning from what is going on here and it is a unique opportunity to show the world their talent in art, talent expressed for thousands of years. It is a door that allows us to look at the Arab world, even though everyone knows the years of history and the stature that many Arab countries have. The United Arab Emirates have modernized their approach – bringing here, for example, the best museums in the world! The Louvre and the Guggenheim create synergies between history, culture and art.