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Catalyst Grant 2021 Verdict
Since 2014, the Catalyst Grant has been an important part of TEOR/éTica’s grants and support program. The goal of this grant is to aid artistic organizations and collectives that play a key role in the transformation of the Central American and Caribbean cultural landscape, both on a local, and international level. We consider this grant to be an important mechanism to contribute to the sustainability of smaller scale, non formal, or non institutionalized initiatives to strengthen an artistic community capable of responding to needs in a quicker, more coherent, and experimental way.
This year, once again thanks to the generous support of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program with funds from the Federal Foreign Office (AA), and the Arts Collaboratory network and DOEN we allocated six grants of $3000 (three thousand US dollars) to organizations or collectives that have been affected by the different crises that our countries are currently going through. The money can be used to continue the work they are doing, to expand their reach, to generate printed material that documents their work, and to implement new dynamics, amongst other things.
For this open call of the Catalyst Grant we received 55 applications from 8 countries, which attests to the vitality of artistic practices in this region and the need for this type of support. The final decision is always difficult due to the strength and pertinence of most of the applications.
The six selected projects are:
Psycho Drag (San José, Costa Rica) an artistic collective that aims to make make drag and queer art visible in unconventional spaces —beyond the night and bars— of Costa Rica. Their artistic actions are a political and social means to communicate the discontent of this community in the face of the systematic discrimination and exclusion they suffer in the Costa Rican context. The grant will be used to reactivate research processes to develop laboratories, creative workshops, theatrical productions, exhibitions, and/or artistic proposals by the group.
Museo del Mundo (Livingston, Guatemala), a virtual museum from the town of Livingston, Guatemala, dedicated to the research, documentation, exhibition and education of artisan practices from different territories around the world. This grant will make it possible for them to expand the research on the artistic practices of the Garífuna in Guatemala, which began in 2016. The aim is to generate field research that will allow the production of a series of activities with educational purposes. The aim is to make the transnational character of the Garífuna people visible by using the Museo del Mundo’s digital platforms (website, app and social networks), to generate an impact both in Central America, and internationally.
Cuirpoétikas (Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala), a collective that encourages education and experimentation through artistic practices, and generates spaces for the exchange of knowledge and experiences of people that are transgender, gender nonconformists, non-binary, diverse, and sexual and physical dissidents in Guatemala. The grant will be used to support gender non conforming visual artists and to open hybrid spaces to share their processes and work. Additionally, the money will help support the Annual Arts Festival.
Los Siempre Sospechosos de Todo (El Salvador, San Salvador), a platform to denounce and disseminate information, through strategies that combine digital communication and conceptual art as means to do community politics in El Salvador. Their proposal is to create digital narratives from records of the different public interventions that they carry out in communal spaces. The aim is to question notions of what constitutes art by using it as a tool to strengthen the social fabric. With the grant, they will carry out a series of interventions scheduled for 2022 and their respective audiovisual documentation, in addition to a workshop for activists, and covering the expenses associated with these activities.
Acuerpadas (León, Nicaragua), for working from an intersectional approach with diverse bodies around Nicaragua, fostering loving, inclusive encounters and spaces, from where to reflect and create together from a critical perspectiva, in the face of the violent situations they experience. From these micropolitical spaces for care, they oppose the current convulsive sociopolitical context in their country. They contribute to the construction of visual, written, and oral transfeminist collective memories that become particularly important in violent contexts such as Nicaragua. They will use the grant for a series of activities such as: workshops, murals, and photography work that can infiltrate the belief systems ingrained in Nicaraguan society, questioning beauty standards that deposit burdens and insecurities on women’s bodies.
Junta de Prietas (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), a feminist, anti-racist, and decolonial collective that champions education and political action as a way to dismantle the oppression and domination that emerged in early 2019, in the Dominican Republic. They aim to enable a space for reflection and political action that threatens and denounces the modern colonial, racist, capitalist, and heteronormative system. They do this by promoting spaces for education and critical reflection, the production of other forms of knowledge, and public interventions. The grant will support the editing and publishing of a fanzine, the production of the 2nd Festival Cantar la Resistencia of poetry and music, and the production and mounting of a new artistic piece in video art format.
The jury was made up by Mariela Richmond (La Ruidosa Oficina – recipient of the Catalyst Grant 2019), Leonardo González (LL Projects – recipient of the Catalyst Grant 2018), , Johan Mijail (Lecturas Cuir/Catinga Ediciones – recipient of the Catalyst Grant 2020) accompanied by TEOR/éTica’s Collective Artistic Direction (M. Paola Malavasi L., Daniela Morales Lisac, and Paula Piedra). The deliberation took place virtually on November 2nd, 2021.
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)