Elvira Espejo



Foto: Elvira Espejo

In your opinion, what are the main questions and issues of the Global South?

I think that the problems of the South are centralized in the European focus on the specialty approach toward a museography or museology, which does not take into account certain societal experiences, like, for example, the examination of practices in the real context of society. It shouldn’t simply be a descriptive context of the errors that we always make in the museums. This observation of the contexts developed in Europe or in the North, focused more on superficial beauty, on the beautiful, like the attractive iconography or the predominating color, rather than on the question about its primary material or its very elaboration. These elements offer other contexts – in terms of meaning, science or technology – that aren’t understood in their language. For this reason, most of the museums are thought of for urban areas or tourist visitors, and not for their own communities, which would benefit from the museums in the same way as all the others.

Where are the gaps in the South-South dialog?

According to the dialogs I’ve had with my colleagues and in the communities, one question is about how to reflect from one’s own context, whether it be rural, suburban or urban. One of the widest gaps is that there are not very broad projections of the real life of a museum, in terms of administration, maintenance, updating information, and action with society. These shortcomings don’t leave much life, for instance in community museums, which are focused on tourism, on external consumerism.

How does the episode you participated in relate to these failings and problems?

The relationship is quite interesting, inasmuch as certain shared experiences are enabling a rethinking of contexts that have already been worked through and to including other experiences and activities with greater success. I believe that developing this activity is very important so as not lose the connecting thread of development through the event and with the participation of my colleagues.

Until 2004, Elvira Espejo studied painting and textile design at the National Academy of Fine Arts in La Paz. She is a sculptor, weaver, story teller and poet. She is also director of the MUSEF in La Paz, Bolivia.