The Largest Contemporary Art Fair in Latin America Reaffirmed its Commitment to the Fair Representation of Women in the Arts

Zona Maco BELatina
Photo Credit IG @zonamaco

Known as Zona Maco, the largest contemporary art fair in Latin America is held twice a year in Mexico City, becoming a thermometer of the Latin American art scene.

It was founded in 2002 by Zéica García, who structured the platform into four events that spin off conversations around contemporary art, design, photography and antiques.

In its 2020 edition, Zona Maco had galleries and exhibitors from 26 countries in America, Europe, and Asia, who exhibited between February 5th and 9th at Centro Citibanamex.

After the fair ended its 2019 edition amidst widespread criticism of the low representation of women in its catalog, this year things seem to have gone differently.

Works such as Ana de Orbegoso’s Feminist Projections, for example, Çagla Ulusoy’s oil paintings, or Ángeles Agrela’s drawings, put the spotlight on the epidemic of gender violence in the world, but especially in Mexico, where around 10 women are murdered every day and where in 2019 there were around 4,000 femicides.

“Attempts have been made to take up these practices that at some point have been overlooked by historiography, the idea being to give more visibility to those who have been set aside because of gender, race or location. The participation of women is very important,” Eloísa Hernández, institutional relations coordinator for Zona Maco, told the Spanish newspaper El País.

Particularly in the history of Latin American art, the figure of the woman artist has often been overlooked in the great compendiums and catalogues, following the tradition of artistic institutions in the rest of the world.

Thanks to the third feminist wave that has been perceived in all spheres so far in the 21st century, women have begun to take a leading role in exhibition halls, both as authors and as subjects of representation.

For Andrea Giunta, an Argentine researcher and author of Feminismo y Arte Latinoamericano (Feminism and Latin American Art), women’s empowerment in art “comes from the awareness of power structures that exclude women and the recognition of the commonplaces that disallow their work.”

“This awareness allows for the articulation of actions towards an equal representation,” she adds in her 2018 book.

This is precisely what has been happening worldwide in recent months, with initiatives such as the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, which acquired 296 pieces of art by women artists, or the birth of the Feminist Art Coalition in the United States, where more than 50 museums committed to gender equality and fair representation in the exhibition halls.

It seems that femininity has finally moved from being a subject of “inspiration” for male artists to being an autonomous narrative made by and for women.