The Generalitat Valenciana, through its Department of Culture, Education and Sports, has deemed it important to organize a prestigious cultural showcase that would occupy a noteworthy place in the world of major international art events.
With this in mind it has opted to make a clean break with past biennales in Valencia and present a different, novel product that distances itself from the cultural market of art biennales in Europe, which often have similar characteristics.
With this in mind, on February 8, 2006 at the '06 ARCO fair, a collaboration agreement was signed by the Bienal de São Paulo and the Bienal de Valencia, represented by Alejandro Font de Mora, minister of Culture, Education and Sports for the Valencian region and Manoel Pires Da Costa, president of the Bienal São Paulo Foundation, respectively.
This is how Encounter Between Two Seas. Bienal of São Paulo - Valencia came about, the first of which will be held in Valencia from March 28 to June 17. This Encounter is committed to exploring the intense relationships between contemporary art from Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, making Valencia the point of reference in Europe and a cultural platform for contemporary Latin American art.
After over 10 years in which Valencian art and artists have been regularly represented in the best museums in the Americas, this accord with the Bienal de São Paulo — the first in America and second in the world — aims to continue with the efforts made by the Generalitat Valenciana.
In this globalized world of rapid communications, it has opted to construct a unique, bilingual space which stands out from all other European cultural events.
The generic theme that will serve as the backbone for all the exhibitions in Encounter Between Two Seas. Bienal de São Paulo -Valencia is Tolerance and Solidarity.
In the world we live in, it has become necessary to talk about tolerance and solidarity. Major events have created a new world order. Globalization has brought major advances, but it has also pitted very different cultures against each other; cultures that live together in the same space and do not always understand each other. This is the main problem facing the world today: the Other is seen as different and many times is perceived as a threat.
Art should not be detached from all that is happening around it; it should play an active role in society and make an effort to seek understanding and improve coexistence, helping one cultural expression enrich the other and different peoples to share their different ways of seeing the world.
With this perspective, this year's Encounter Between Two Seas. Bienal de São Paulo - Valencia has been organized into five art exhibitions that will be set up in different spaces in Valencia (Convento del Carmen, La Nave de Sagunto, La Gallera and the University) as well as a series of exhibitions featuring emerging artists at 13 Valencian galleries.
The Encounter Between Two Seas thus offers a broad overview of Latin American art, from the most important works of the Bienal de Sao Paulo to Amerindian and popular Afro-Amerindian art and of course, emerging Spanish art.
This year the Hachemite Kingdom of Jordan has also been invited to take part in the Encounter, with the goal of further reinforcing the theme of tolerance and coexistence. The choice of Jordan fits this mission, as it is a country being pulled from all directions: by the Palestinians, Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Jordan has made a firm commitment to maintain smooth, cordial ties with the West, without renouncing its Arab and Muslim culture.
The Encounter also benefits from the participation of Valencian gallery owners, with whom the Generalitat Valenciana has signed an agreement so they can select an artist who will show, in each gallery, a selection of works related to the theme of the event. The 13 participating galleries will thus be a part of the Encounter, which has exhibition spaces spread all over the city of Valencia, reaching as far as Alicante and Castellón.
The involvement of the Valencian social and artistic fabric through this initiative is fundamental to the future of the Encounter, which has wanted to give Valencian art and the artistic fabric of the region the space it deserves.
With this same objective, the Encounter is joined by the Universidad de Valencia, which will present an exhibition. Besides, the University will organize a seminar specialized on the generic theme and the artistic critique that the philosopher Adela Cortina will inaugurate. In the Universidad Politécnica of Valencia there will be organized a series of workshops of art that there will give some of the artists who take part in the different exhibitions of the Meeting
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