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The Montevideo Biennial is an initiative of the Fundación Bienal de Montevideo, a nonprofit institution which has the mission to develop cultural and educational projects in the area of visual arts, in order to create new conditions for the promotion of the contemporary arts in Uruguay, and to encourage a dialogue with the international art scene. The Montevideo Biennial is a free entrance event, and includes a pedagogical project, recognizing that education and democratic access to the visual arts are specific instruments for the exercise of citizenship. The Montevideo Biennial has been declared of National Interest by the Presidency of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, and of Municipal Interest by the City Council of Montevideo.
Alfons Hug, general curator of the First Edition of the Montevideo Biennial, points out in relation to this new event: "Biennials are set up mainly where countries and cities are experiencing a political, economic and cultural boom. This was the case 60 years ago with the Biennale in São Paulo and applies today to those in Singapore, Sharjah, Shanghai, Istanbul, Porto Alegre and Curitiba. The recently launched Biennial of Montevideo is also an eloquent example of this boom in the South. It puts Uruguay back into the limelight, a country that was a beacon of modernity at the beginning of the 20th century, then got somehow sidelined, and has now regained its footing and developed a new self-confidence."
The 1st Montevideo Biennial was possible thanks to the support to the arts by the Banco de la República Oriental del Uruguay, patronage of the Funds for Cultural Incentive of Uruguay and Gerdau Laisa, together with important contributions by the State and the private sector, in a joint effort to launch such a cultural undertaking in Uruguay.