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UECLAA acquires two new artworks at PINTA Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art Show

UECLAA has acquires two new artworks at the second PINTA Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art Show in London. UECLAA was academic partner for London PINTA at Earls Court Exhibition Centre for the second year running.  UECLAA purchased important pieces with the support of the show’s Museums Acquisition Programme.

UECLAA acquired the following works:

Milagros de la Torre, born 1965, Peruvian (active USA)
Under the Black Sun
Hand dyed toned silver gelatin photograph on paper

Graciela Iturbide, born 1942, Mexican
'El baño de Frida' Coyoacán, Ciudad de México
Silver gelatin photograph 

Mexican embassy former cultural attaché awarded honorary degree

Ignacio Durán Loera, the Mexican Embassy's former Cultural Attache' and avid supporter of UECLAA was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Essex on 22 July 2011.  

Ignacio Durán Loera, an acclaimed filmmaker, was the Mexican Embassy’s Cultural Attaché responsible for promoting Mexican arts and culture in the UK. Minister Durán read law at the National Autonomous University in Mexico and worked for several years as a lawyer specialising in labour law. In the early 1970s he studied at the London Film School and worked for the BBC and ITV. He returned to Mexico in 1975 where he worked in the film industry as a director and producer of feature films, documentaries and television programmes. A year later he became Deputy Director of the National Institute of Fine Arts and was later appointed Head of the Education and Cultural Production Unit at the Ministry for Education. He has served as Director General of the Mexican Film Institute and as Vice President for Production at TV Azteca, one of the largest television networks in Mexico. Before coming to the UK he served as General Director of the Mexican Culture Institute in Washington D.C.


'PINTA is a unique event in London to discover the best of contemporary and modern Latin American Art.'

The Collection's Learning and Access officer, Miriam Metliss, will be curating the programme based around two themes; 'Presenting Latin American Art in the UK' and 'Collecting Latin American Art in Context'.

As part of the Public Programme, the Collection will be using Twitter, as well as Facebook, to broaden the discussions. Please join us to get involved.

Pinta London 2011 runs from June 6th to 9th at Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

Firstsite opens to the public

The University is a key partner of firstsite and supported the development of the multi-million pound new facility from the outset.

Internationally-acclaimed architect Rafael Viñoly, who has recently worked on the Battersea Power Station Masterplan, designed the building, which provides purpose-built gallery spaces for major international exhibitions.

The opening exhibition, titled Camulodunum after Colchester's pre-Roman name, considers how we learn about history through cultural objects. It showcases new commissions by international contemporary artists including Danh Vo and Aleksandra Mir, alongside works by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, JMW Turner and Andy Warhol.

The new firstsite gallery includes a dedicated space for the University to showcase elements of the unique Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA). Its opening display, Southern Press, celebrates the importance of printmaking within the post-war artistic production of Brazil, Chile and Paraguay, focusing on the works of 13 printmakers.

firstsite also includes learning spaces for students and community groups, a 190-seat auditorium, and a café and restaurant, MUSA.

The University has a wide-reaching commitment to the community and for many years we have played a major part in the county's cultural life. Our partnership with firstsite will enable us to expand our community outreach work in the arts, particularly with school children and families, as well as the exchange of ideas between our academics and the community through public lectures, talks and debates.

Carlos Cruz-Diez commission on display in Colchester

Carlos Cruz-Diez has designed op-art schemes for several pedestrian crossings in Colchester, including one at the University of Essex Colchester Campus. Cruz-Diez’s crossing designs were first produced as temporary interventions in his native city of Caracas in 1975 and have subsequently been seen all over the world. This will be the first time that the work has been produced in the UK, commissioned by firstsite as part of its opening season with the assistance of Colchester Borough Council, National Express East Anglia and the University of Essex. UECLAA has worked with Cruz-Diez since 1996 and is delighted to support this commission.

UECLAA transforms into ESCALA

To coincide with its first exhibition at Colchester’s firstsite, the University’s world-renowned Latin American art collection has announced a change of name.

The University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art, known as UECLAA, has been renamed as ESCALA, the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America to make it more accessible to its ever-growing UK and international audiences.

Dr Joanne Harwood, Director of the Collection, explained the change: “ESCALA has interesting meanings and resonances in Spanish and Portuguese including ‘ladder’ and steps’ which are reflected in our new logo. It is also more lyrical than UECLAA which was particularly difficult to pronounce inEnglish.”

The Collection’s new design includes stripes of red, yellow and purple, using colours inspired by one of ESCALA’s outstanding works, América del Sur by María Freire. The new identity coincides with the opening of Southern Press: Prints from Brazil, Paraguay and Chile at firstsite.

A new website,, will be launched in November and the team as also installed a computer-based SPECTRUM museum standard collections management system.

Dr Harwood said: “The new brand, strengthened technology systems and more engaging website will enable us to continue to grow both the Collection and our audience. It will also put us in a strong position to transform the Hexagon into a worthy home for the Collection and an inspiring museum for the University and for the wider community.”

A £2,999 grant to document the collection

ESCALA has been successful in our application for a Collections Care Grant from the Effective Museums Programme that is part of Renaissance East of England. We have been awarded the maximum £3,000 for the project ‘ESCALA questionnaires: digital documentation for the web’, which will improve and increase the amount of information available to the public about the artists and artworks in the Collection of Art through artist questionnaires in English, Spanish or Portuguese.

Santander Universities sponsors ESCALA

As well as supporting the development of ESCALA’s new website, Santander Universities has offered to sponsor the Collection with another £15,000 over three years from 2011 to 2014.This generous donation will support the Collection’s activities including research in collaboration with associate artists and visiting fellows, with a focus on Latin American art. In addition to sponsoring ESCALA Santander has an agreement with the University of Essex, which provides scholarships for postgraduate students from Latin American countries and travel bursaries for University staff and students conducting research in Latin America. If you would like to find out more about Santander University grants, please contact the University of Essex Development and Alumni Relations Office.