Two internationally recognized Argentine experts in conservation and restoration of works of art will be visiting Guyana between September 2 to 9, 2017.
This visit is a result of a collaborative effort between the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Education, Department of Culture, Youth and Sport, and the Government of Argentina, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, involving the restoration and conservation, over a period of time, of a number of works of art belonging to the National Collection of Art housed at the National Gallery of Art, Castellani House.
The project will be implemented by the “Taller Area” of the Cultural Heritage Research Institute (TAREA-IIPC) at the National University of San Martín (UNSAM) located in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The project will be conducted in coordination and collaboration between the National Gallery of Art of Guyana and the experts of TAREA-IIPC UNSAM.
The travel of the Argentine experts will be financed by the Fund for South-South Cooperation administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina.
According to a joint release from the Education Ministry and the Argentina Embassy in Guyana, “this visit is essentially an exploratory mission in which the Argentine team will be conducting a first assessment of the damaged works of art, most of them oil and acrylic paintings on canvas, canvas boards, tentest and tentest lined with fabric, after which a proposal will be put in place on the way forward to implement the project.”
The team will consist of Néstor Barrio, Dean of the Research Institute on the Cultural Patrimony, and Ms Damasia Gallegos, Director of the “Taller Tarea”.
In 2014, Guyana’s National Gallery of Art, Castellani House, discovered that a number of its prized paintings and works from its Repository of the National Collection had deteriorated due to several factors, and as a consequence were endangered.
“It was therefore considered necessary to restore the affected works. Unfortunately, Guyana does not possess the necessary technical competence to counteract the state of deterioration” said the release.
This realization saw the then Director of Culture, Dr James Rose meeting with Ambassador Luis Alberto Martino on March 16, 2015, to discuss collaborative efforts between Guyana and Argentina to “treat damaged paintings”.
As a result of this, the International Cooperation Department of the Argentine Foreign Ministry confirmed the availability of a team of the UNSAM to put this project in motion.
TAREA-IIPC UNSAM is a research and training institute that has extensive experience in international and regional collaboration of conservation, preservation and restoration of cultural heritage and works of art.
According to the joint statement, the TAREA-IIPC UNSAM experts will create and install capabilities and create a pool of human resources that will receive further training in the next stages of the project.
During their stint in Guyana, the Argentine experts will undertake the following tasks:
– Works of art will be meticulously examined by experts of TAREA-IIPC UNSAM and assessment of conditions and needs for restoration and conservation will be conducted.
– Identification of the material and techniques needed in order to restore and conserve works of art, in order to consolidate the future exhibitions of the Guyana National Collection of Art.
– Identification of a pool of resource persons from the National Gallery of Art and other cultural institutions of Guyana, who will receive training in conservation and restoration.
The persons who will participate in the training will be selected from the various cultural institutions proposed by Guyana. Participants will be drawn from the National Gallery of Art, the E.R. Burrowes School of Art, the University of Guyana, the National Archives, the National Trust, the National Museum, the Museum of African Heritage and the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology.
According to the joint statement, the project will have an impact on research and teaching that is developed in TAREA-IIPC UNSAM. “The possibility of involving other University actors in the project will be explored, for instance teachers, researchers and students. In particular the possibility to sign bilateral cooperation agreements to increase student and teacher mobility between UNSAM and institutions of higher education involved in art training in Guyana, which will also promote the internationalization of higher education and training between our countries.”
This large-scale project will certainly serve to further strengthen ties between Guyana and Argentina and to spread awareness of preserving all expressions of the cultural heritage, among which conservation and restoration of art play a central role.
“As a matter of fact, this collaboration will see a number of Guyanese immensely benefiting from capacity building in this area via a series of workshops and training sessions” said the joint statement.