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The journalist L. D. wrote this text [in October 1989] about the selection of work by Gladys Meneses to represent Venezuela in the twentieth Bienal de São Paulo. He notes that there was a press conference attended by public figures from Brazilian institutions linked to the event. The article introduces the artist, her development as a visual artist, fears, and interests. The piece highlights her concern about the native culture of the Orinoco Delta, as well as her attention to the landscape and nature in that river region. It also points out the financial limitations evident in the exhibition presented by Venezuela in the Brazilian capital; this was of no great concern to either the artist or the curator Domingo Álvarez.


The selection of the Venezuelan artist Gladys Meneses (b. 1938) to represent Venezuela at the twentieth Bienal de São Paulo was a milestone in the history of Venezuelan graphic art. In fact, this gave this art genre a distinguished position, which was necessary at that time, especially at an international art event. Between 1986 and1989, Meneses showed her work in two of the most important museums in Caracas: the Museo de Bellas Artes organized the retrospective exhibition Piedras donde fluye el paisaje (1986), and later, the exhibition Aproximación al Delta was held at the Galería de Arte Nacional (1989). Therefore, at the time of the Brazilian biennial, this was a body of work that was in the public eye. The writer Graciela Pantin, who was the commissioner of the event, justified Meneses’s participation in the biennial with these words: “Long years of experience in the mastery of fiber, the track of the chisel, pressure on stone, passing a press over a plate, the ink stain.” The journalist L. D. adds: “Today the artist has taken on another challenge (…) She is creating new visual approaches with materials that until now seemed highly unlikely to be used for any artistic purpose.” Her interest in native culture and immersion in the nature found in the Orinoco Delta that subtly appear in the artist’s works must have also been a factor in choosing her. The background for the selection was a recent meeting of the Ministers of Latin America. According to the Venezuelan Minister of Culture José Antonio Abreu (b. 1939), the ministers were seeking a cultural integration of the continent. This article states that the ministers had decided to use the twentieth Bienal de São Paulo to foster this agenda; moreover, the Brazilian Minister of Culture was receptive to future visual art exchanges with Venezuela.

For a review of the artist’s work, see the ICAA digital archive: “Gladys Meneses,” by Iván Torres and F. Valladares (doc. no. 1155685)]. In addition, see the interview by the journalist Miriam Delgado, “Del papel al acero: Gladys Meneses sigue rindiendo culto al Delta” (doc. no. 1155645), the review by the journalist Carlos Paolillo, “Me siento sola en el grabado: Gladys Meneses” (doc. no. 1155612), and Lucía Quintero Yanes’s article, “Grabados de Gladys Meneses” (doc. no. 1155664).

Milagros González
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
El Universal de Venezuela
CINAP. Centro de Informacion Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Galería de Arte Nacional, Plaza Los Museos, Los Caobos, Caracas.