Russia to hand over its pavilion at the 2024 Venice Biennale to Bolivia

1 april, 2024

Previously, the media reported that Russia was competing with China and other countries to access significant lithium reserves in Bolivia.

Closed pavilion of Russia at the 59th Venice Biennale. Photo: James Arthur Gekiere/ Belga Mag/ AFP via Getty Images. Source: news.artnet.com
The Russian national pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale will not present a project for the second consecutive year. Instead, the aggressor country has decided to hand it over to Bolivia, which will showcase an exhibition featuring 25 artists. Such a gesture for Russia is another way to whitewash its reputation in the world through large cultural venues, taking advantage of the prestige of the Biennale Arte.

"The Bolivia Pavilion has the opportunity to be inside the Giardini, which is the most prestigious exhibition area of the entire Biennale thanks to the Russian Federation, which believed in the importance, quality, and contents of our project," the organizers informed the Italian Il Sole 24 Ore.

This information emerged a few months after news that Russia was competing with several other countries for access to Bolivian lithium reserves. According to preliminary estimates, the deposits of this metal in the country amount to about 23 million tons. According to DW, the South American state signed a corresponding contract with the Russian Uranium One Group at the end of last year.

The project's name of Bolivia is "Qhip Nayr Uñtasis Sarnaqapxañani," which translates to "Looking at the future-past, we are treading forward." The pavilion, commissioned by Deputy Minister of Cultures Juan Carlos Cordero Nina, will be curated by the Minister of Cultures, Decolonization, and Depatriarchalization of Bolivia, Esperanza Guevara.

The pavilion will involve not only Bolivians but also artists from other Latin American countries. The curator aims to demonstrate the unity of nations with a shared history. Among others, it will feature an Indigenous weaver Elvira Espejo Aika (director of the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore of Bolivia), Amazonian artist Duhigó, renowned muralist Lorgio Vaca, and self-taught artist Oswaldo "Achu" de León Cantule. In 2009, Bolivia received official recognition as a plurinational state and began implementing a policy of recognition and support for Indigenous communities.

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