Ready, set… go! Creating Exhibitions! (Mariana Sainz Pacheco, ITP 2018, Mexico)

Hi! My name is Mariana Sainz and I live in Mexico City – although one part of me belongs to the beautiful city of Oaxaca, southern Mexico. I work at the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA), where I am in charge of planning/helping in the development of international temporary exhibitions that involve Mexican heritage, mainly from the State collections.

Part of these collections are in permanent displays in museums, but to constantly re-think about the artworks that we care for is not only our job but our passion, and is the path that needs to be taken to offer our audiences new ways to approach and to understand heritage.

Temporary exhibitions allow us to do this: to present during a particular period a narrative about these artworks or objects that not only shares new knowledge about them, but that also generates new questions, that increases the curiosity towards them, and that keeps them alive and related to the present moment, regardless their origin.

As you may have already read about, thanks to the other ITP fellows’ contributions to this blog, to work on an Object in Focus exhibition project proposal is our chance to develop our skills in achieving this goal, and Friday’s session with Miriam Lloyd-Evans, former British Museum colleague and now an independent curator with broad experience in temporary exhibitions, was focused precisely on these matters.

Using some examples of exhibitions projects on which she has worked, Miriam guided us through many steps that have to be considered when you are planning an exhibition, always keeping in mind the object(s) that your are working with. She shared with us her top 10 tips!

I loved the fact that she mixed chatting about this process with time for us to apply the ideas and thoughts to our own projects. And for me, one of the key ideas that was suggested is that we have to be able to take decisions: we cannot say it all or show it all, but we can be quite assertive in delivering a message about our object. We have to decide what it is what we want to say and how we want to say it. Discussion about it is essential; not only with our colleagues (exhibitions are always a team exercise) but also with our audiences and our communities. We have seen great examples of this during our time on the ITP so far. Our visit to Brighton showed us a successful exchange with the LGBTQ community that created rousing exhibitions.

But undoubtedly, the best advice Miriam gave to us was simply… to enjoy it!