Curating Something New at the Casa de la CulturaMarch 9, 2020
In February 2020, I completed a two-week assignment with the Casa de la Cultura in Guayaquil, Ecuador—a centre to promote cultural development and expression across the region.
Coming from cold, wintery Ottawa, I soaked in as much sun and heat as I could—and there was plenty of both. There was no shortage of warmth in hospitality too. From the very first day that I arrived, the staff at the Casa made me feel very much at home.
The purpose of the assignment was to assist the staff at the cultural centre with the development and curatorship of a new exhibition for their museum. The exhibit would illustrate the history of the people from the coastal region of Ecuador from 10,000 BC to 1,500 AD.
The museum has a small but impressive collection of objects covering that period. Most of the artefacts were acquired by Carlos Zevallos Menéndez—an archaeologist and the first president of the Casa de la Cultura.
To help develop a concept for the museum and a museographical approach, I met with Gisela Peña who is in charge of the gallery project. She and I visited two of Guayaquil’s museums that feature pre-Colombian galleries.
Together we came up with a two-part concept for the museum. Part one of the gallery would be dedicated to the history of the coastal region with objects, illustrations and photos in ten impressive showcases. The second part of the space would be reserved for interactive exhibits for children. After only a few days, the gallery was starting to take shape and we were beginning to see what it could look like in a few weeks.
During the course of the assignment, Gisela and I gave three interviews to local newspapers. These interviews provided much exposure for the new gallery as well as for the activities and services offered by the Casa de la Cultura. At the urging of Fernando Naranjo, the director of the institution, I also gave a presentation to about 40 people about the exciting developments happening at the Casa that further support the growth of arts and culture in Guayaquil.
To read Claude and Gisela’s full interview in Spanish from El Telégrafo, click here.