Victor Leyton, one of the directors of Gallery Weekend Santiago, tells us about the beginning of the project “Ayuda con arte". The initiative, focused on helping health workers in the middle of the pandemic, managed to donate 1160 lunches through the sale of national art pieces. Leyton also refers to the fourth version of Gallery Weekend, which will be carried out starting on November 12, oriented to women creation and will take place through digital platforms.
How did “Ayuda con Arte” come about?
The initiative "Ayuda con Arte" that we carried out together with "Cocina País" and "A3press" emerged precisely because our hands were tied, since the pandemic required us to stay at home and there was always a risk of going out so we were looking for a way to hold on to the best possibility of being able to make a real contribution.
That's how this partnership with “Cocina País” came about, to be able to bring food to the public health workers in the first place, who were the ones who needed direct help at the time when the pandemic was at its peak. Also to deliver food to people on the street, people who were at that time in more vulnerable conditions that had no access to resources, remember that it was very difficult to enter the supermarkets, there was a whole previous social crisis and the pandemic was added, so what we wanted to do with “Ayuda con Arte” was precisely to be able to deliver directly to these people and what better way to do it that with art.
What was the result of the initiative?
We know many very talented artists from the contemporary scene, who were tremendously happy and willing to support us in this initiative. In the first instance we generated a first sale, which was sold practically in the first 48 hours, we were very happy with the result. People wanted to help, they were good pieces of art at super affordable prices, from renowned artists and gave us the ability to generate a second sale “Ayuda con Arte 2". Many artists wrote to us when they saw the first initiative, so we were able to carry out the two sales in a super successful way and making sure that the help would go directly to the people who needed it.
Do you have another initiative of this nature in mind?
The truth is that we would like that Galería Weekend, as an event, to continue with this social cut but I think that once the pandemic is over, we would like to focus on the artists. In the artistic community that is resentful, injured from these difficult times, of shortage, in a country where not necessarily much art is bought, then if we would like to make an action that is more oriented to the benefit of the artistic community this time.
In your opinion, how has the pandemic affected the art scene in Chile?
I think that we in particular, compared to the rest of the world, have been doubly affected. In the first place, because of the social crisis, which had already generated a certain impediment to certain initiatives. We fully supported the protests and the awakening of Chile, but we had to cancel not only Weekend Gallery but also other cultural events with which we worked with Juan Pablo Vergara, my partner in these projects. I think that from the social crisis to the pandemic, we saw a lot of initiatives, a lot of galleries, a lot of institutions affected, but I think that the online format has proven to work super well, it opens a lot of possibilities.
I saw how fairs in Latin America and also ChACO had their online versions and I understand that if it sold, now the galleries that is a little more complicated but it has called my attention the energy, the strength and how they have reinvented themselves to face these new times. I think it did affect them but it also opened up a lot of possibilities to reach collectors, to reach people and you have to keep on insisting.
"We plan to make Galería Weekend Santiago this year, which begins on November 12, will be an online version and a little longer, because of the possibilities that allow us digital platforms"
"We think it is nice to recognize the work of women, so in our inauguration, we will make a televised opening this year, we will broadcast on channel 13C and we will open this inauguration with a tribute to Lotty Rosenfeld"
What plans do you have for the future?
We plan to make Galería Weekend Santiago this year, which begins on November 12, will be an online version and a little longer, because of the possibilities that allow us digital platforms. This year, we are concentrating our efforts on generating an exhibition, a catalog, in which the galleries that are part of this event can participate. We invited the curator Daniela Berger, from the Museo de la Solidaridad, who proposed to us to make a catalog exclusively of women, which we thought was very good because this year it has been one of the important topics and as Galería Weekend we wanted to join this initiative.
We think it is nice to recognize the work of women, so in our inauguration, we will make a televised opening this year, we will broadcast on channel 13C and we will open this inauguration with a tribute to Lotty Rosenfeld, who died recently and we will also have a lecture by Cecilia Vicuña. It is a Galería Weekend oriented to the feminine, without being exclusive of course, and has other milestones, other activities such as projecting art in the city, if the galleries are open that people go very carefully, but the truth is that we have a very entertaining series of talks that is on a digital platform.
"Our expectations are to generate bridges and alliances with the Southern Cone, specifically, but also with the rest of the world"
What are your expectations with this new version?
The truth is that our projections this year are to open ourselves to Latin America, we are in alliance with Gallery Weekend Lima, we have international figures invited, for example the director of the Sao Paulo Biennial, collectors also from Latin America, the truth is that in this sense, our expectations are to generate bridges and alliances with the Southern Cone, specifically, but also with the rest of the world. Obviously our audience in Chile, in these three years, will participate and connect but also invite and generate bridges in Latin America.