"Generating culture is the only way to connect a city, and to generate culture we have to use art."
Jaime Izurieta is by training an architect, town planer and urban designer. His profession made him concerned about the prosperity of the city, his passion for art made him a city maker.
An enthusiast of contemporary art, Jaime came together with artist Rosa Jijón, curator Ana María Garzón and decided to speak up about the absence and need of a contemporary art museum in Quito. Art is one of the main forms people connect with each other at a more profound basis, and in Quito, contemporary art is displayed only in temporary exhibitions. Together they tried to create a physical space of permanent expositions. Unfortunately, no spaces were available for constant displays. This did not stop the art enthusiastic group. In coming up with an alternative solution, they created Nomada Museum, a museum in the street.
What does a museum represent for you?
For me it is a place where people learn the meaning and power of art and with that they can transform the city. The problem is that most people have a wrong concept about what a museum actually represents; they consider it a place of knowledge, but that knowledge has no input in their daily lives. You can stay two hours waiting to see the Mona Lisa, and then when you are at two meters distance, together with a hundred people, you see a small painting that is irrelevant for your life. Still it also depends on you, in what you learn, feel and understand in that moment.
Tell us more about Nomada museum. How is it different from the traditional museums?
Nomada museum is supposed to be a place where visitors can have different kind of experiences, where objects are not legitimated. The main purpose of this project is that it has to generate concepts of beauty or ugliness, concepts with which people can identify or interact. This space produces a confrontation within people. As such, they realise it is possible to transform Quito into a better city, with places like this, and that is how they became city makers.
How can art help to enhance the city?
The only way to connect the city is by generating culture, and to generate culture we have to use art. With art you emphasise concepts like beauty or ugliness and that creates a confrontation on how you can actually make the city beautiful, and so you become a city maker. If you consider something ugly you are going to do something to change that into something beautiful. For example, if you saw a horrible wall in the city, that makes you think about the concept of what is ugly, you are going to something to make it beautiful because art teaches you so. And that beautiful and happy city is going to make happier people.
What other aspects are important to generate the city?
There are four aspects to be taken in account in the development of the city: culture, design, economic development and the environment. With all four we will have a healthy growth.
We do not want people go to museums like a ritual, instead we want to convert the city into a place where you confront yourself with art, and then you see, think the city in a different way.