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Ella Fontanals-Cisneros plans to take her Latin American art collection worldwide

Works from the 3,000-strong collection have already travelled to Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil and in 2019, Fontanals-Cisneros plans to “cross even more uncharted waters”

Ella Fontanals-Cisneros wants her art to reach a wider audience Photo: Mauricio Donall; courtesy of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation

The Chilean artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña and the Colombian artist Nicolás Paris will show their work at New York’s El Museo del Barrio in a group exhibition next autumn, thanks to the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (Cifo). The pair are among nine artists who won the 17th edition of the foundation’s annual grants and commissions prize, announced yesterday. The $100,000 award enables mid-career and established Latin American artists “room to develop and present experimental and engaging new work”, says the foundation’s founder, Ella Fontanals-Cisneros.

The Cuban-born collector has said that she wants to take her assemblage of Latin American art “worldwide, where it can provide a much wider experience to a bigger audience”. Cifo closed its space in Miami space in January, and since then, she has delivered on that mission, taking works from her 3,000-strong collection to Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil. In 2019, Fontanals-Cisneros plans to “cross even more uncharted waters”, she says.

Next year, works in the collection by Peruvian artists, such as Christian Bendayán, Elena Damiani and Rita Ponce de León, will be shown at the arts lab El Instante Fundación, in an exhibition coinciding with the 35th edition of the Arco Madrid fair (27 February-3 March 2019). And Fontanals-Cisneros is still negotiating with Spain’s culture ministry to donate several works to the country for display in an exhibition space in Madrid’s La Tabacalera, a defunct tobacco factory near the Museo Reina Sofía. “Changes keep happening—the government has changed ministers twice already and it’s a landmark building that needs to be refurbished, so it’s been a long process,” she says.

In the coming months, Cifo is due to announce more partnerships and gifts. Fontanals-Cisneros says that taking the collection beyond Miami helps to “keep it alive and give it purpose”.