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A work of art from the portfolio of Mia Art Collection.

Mohammad Yusuf, Feature Writer

MIA Art Collection’s virtual museum, MIA Anywhere, is an online Aladdin’s cave that houses approximately 1,000 works of art from around the world. It is a private art collection founded by Alejandra Castro Rioseco, with a global footprint aimed at promoting women artists and their work.

“We were the first to create a virtual museum – MIA Anywhere – during the pandemic, and we made it public in three days,” Rioseco recalls. “First we started with our collection, then we created four rooms for artists, galleries and organizations to exhibit.


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“It was a success, because of the exposure we were able to give artists, and especially when we were able to give people the opportunity to experience a museum at such a critical time in our history. “

Rioseco talks to Gulf Today

What made you an art collector?

I believe that a person does not become something if he does not have a need inside … in my personal case it is the need for the beauty of harmony and balance, the need the profound message of seeing the spirit through the gaze of art. Art is the framework of our history, and through art we can understand our past and see how today’s artists see what future history will be.

Why do you support female art?

We support women’s art because we need to achieve a balance in valuing art. Today, women’s art is less visible; museums do not exceed 20% of women’s works exhibited in their rooms, art galleries sell less women’s art and finally, women artists are less valued than men artists in the world. MIA Art Collection decided a few years ago that this would be our way of collaborating towards a more egalitarian, fairer and therefore more balanced society. MIA Art Collection does not feature male artists, only female artists.

Emirates-based art promoter Alejandra Castro Rioseco.

How does art empower women?

Art has the power to transform, to bring out what is inside. Supporting the world of women in art is essential for them to continue to create. A person who does not feel their work is valued is an unhappy person – the same thing happens in art. This is why we are so happy with what Expo 2020 Dubai has done – put art in its pavilions and create a public art program where the role of the female artist has been highly appreciated and welcomed. . In this case, it is an example of how a society develops in balance and harmony.

What makes you buy a particular work of art?

There are many factors: the first is the message of the artwork, the context, the story behind each artist, how she develops it, how she expresses it and finally, how we and our curators art see it. The works that enter the MIA Art Collection must be works that meet several parameters such as the message they convey, the creative process, respect for the environment, sustainability and the absence of animal abuse. We are very attentive to each work we acquire because we know that it will be a legacy — and that requires a great responsibility.

What are the qualities of Arab art that attract you?

Uffff! So much! Arabic art for me has a unique context and history. The way he mixes history with language and culture, including those of the ancestors. The talent of Emirati artists is enormous; they are strong and sensitive women at the same time, and they manage to capture all this information in very beautiful works of art, with a very strong history and human meaning. I think the cultural work of the Emirates has been exceptional!

As a Chilean, you must see commonalities between South American-Hispanic and Arab-Emirati cultures. What do they have in common?

Even though I was born in Chile, I don’t feel very represented by this culture, because my ancestors are Spanish — and there are huge similarities there. The origin is the same, the culture, the value for the family, the traditions, the music, the food, the way we live every day. I found a lot in this land which gave me great Arab friends from whom I learned culture, traditions and religion. Spaniards are very similar to Arabs: we like the same things and we communicate and understand perfectly. We love and respect the same things and values.

You plan to open a physical space for art. How far have they progressed? Will it be in the UAE or elsewhere?

MIA Art Collection has been working for several years with architects from different parts of the world to come up with the project that best represents what the Collection does.

We presented the idea of ​​building an art space exclusively for women, and we received many proposals from different parts of the world. But my family and I live in the Emirates and we think this is the perfect

place to create a dream like this, because the country offers opportunities and opens doors for everything related to culture and art.

We decided to do something really unique – the way things are done in the UAE.

What are the assets that make the UAE and the Gulf spearheads in the popularization of regional art?

The advantages are numerous: the Emirates have now become the center of the world. Everyone watches and learns from what happens here and it’s a unique opportunity to show the world their talent in art, a talent expressed for thousands of years. It is a door that allows us to look at the Arab world, even though everyone knows the years of history and the stature that many Arab countries possess. The United Arab Emirates has modernized its approach — bringing here, for example, the best museums in the world! The Louvre and the Guggenheim create synergies between history, culture and art.