Cartagena’s International Contemporary Art Festival, Colombia

Updated September 10th, 2018.

We were thrilled to stumble upon Cartagena’s first ever Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporaneo launched this weekend, a biannual explosion of over 500 accessible, thought-provoking works of contemporary art, which are spread out all over the city. A pair of press passes gave us full access into all the events so we could provide you with all the necessary info!

photo 3Ready to learn a little bit more about contemporary art! 

This years installations include work from an impressive collection of international artists, representing over 45 cities including; Africa, The United States, Mexico, Ireland and of course Colombia. Centered around four main themes the art spills from Cartagena’s museums into the cities communal spaces adding even more vibrancy (an almost impossible feat) to the city.

IMG_8906South America Backpacker was thrilled to catch the kick off of the Bienal! 

This weekend marked the opening of the installations which will be up from now until April 7th, meaning that travelers passing through will be able to use the exhibitions as a way to create a richer dialogue between the modern and historic elements of the city.

Contemporary art brings the viewer into the space, activates all senses, and challenges the viewer to ask better questions about the world around them, all goals which are quite relatable to many of our reasons for embarking on adventures in the first place.

photo 3-2Visitors enjoying some of the gallery space. 

photo 2Sand art by Gijs van Bon displays the wishes of children from local school, Fundacion La Vecina 

Backpackers will find that the topics covered by the art pieces themselves are also quite pertinent to their life on the roads, as they delve into layered concepts such as tourism, the hotel industry, and transience.

photo 2The spectacular city of Cartagena provides the perfect backdrop for the event

Immerse yourself in the world of honeybees at Oswaldo Macia’s multi sensory installation. In Getsemani, Cartagena’s designated backpacker hub, a parking lot is transformed into a critique of our media sources, through Guillermo Paneque’s use of news headlines inscribed on Andalusian azuleojs tiles. Museum spaces have been taken over with everything from documentary showings to a recreation of Terry Berkowitz’s interpretation of the last supper.

The best part? All the exhibitions are free, meaning that you may just be able to splurge on a sunset cocktail at Café del Mar after all!

IMG_8922Terry Berkowitz’s Veil of Memory/Prologue: The Last Supper  

Travelers can view the pieces in any order that fits their travels or their interests. Information on the concepts behind the pieces is available in a printed guide which is translated into both Spanish and English and can be picked up at various locations throughout the city. Information about the site locations is conveniently displayed on bright orange signs located throughout the city. For more information on the works featured check out the official BIACI website.


Written by: Tyler Protano-Goodwin

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  • One thought on “Cartagena’s International Contemporary Art Festival, Colombia

    1. Elizabeth says:

      What a wonderful way to start your exploration of this beautiful city. Love the idea of art spilling into the streets and the vibrant pictures you took capture these amazing moments.

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