inSite/Casa Gallina Project Director
Osvaldo Sánchez sees giving as a basic human responsibility. In fact, to be called a giver seems almost redundant to this former museum director who is also an art scholar and a writer, as he understands that the very nature of the human experience necessitates compassion and generosity. Sánchez was born in Havana. The experience of living in a place in deep political turmoil helped to shape his worldview. “I grew up in a dictatorship,” Sánchez said. “You understand fast how important it is to be politically involved, how much politics, civil rights, and social engagement mean not only for the safety of a society, but also for the personal and emotional survival and resilience of its people.” Through art and education, Sánchez’s life and career have focused on helping people who are vulnerable. “If I have to consider something I think of as my ‘give,’ maybe it’s sharing my passion for creative daily life,” Sánchez said. Indeed, as the project director for inSite/Casa Gallina, Sánchez oversees an initiative that is designed to blend art and creative expression into the daily lives of those living in the working class neighborhood of Santa María La Ribera in Mexico City.
Sanchez has also been the director of the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil and the director of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, both in Mexico City. Since 2007 he has also served as a member of the Advisory Board of the House der Kulturen der Welt, one of the preeminent European centers for contemporary arts in Berlin, Germany. When asked to reflect on his inspiration, Sánchez recalled his mother’s example. “She was the daughter of two immigrants who worked the earth, farmers from the Canary Islands who made a living harvesting,” he said. “Her love for a simple life, her internal commitment to being a caring person, and encouraging justice and love, were inspiring.” Sánchez encourages small acts of kindness and giving, and creating a world that is interconnected and genuine. “Take on small initiatives to create a network of caring,” he said. “To give a hand to solve somebody else’s vulnerability — a vulnerability that is not only economical, but many times is about a need for human connection — makes a huge difference.” “We are all responsible for the state of the planet, and we have to encourage a shift of paradigm…,” he added. “Any small thing we can do is important.”
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After earning a master of art history degree from the University of Havana, Sanchez taught at the Academia de Arte San Alejandro and the Instituto Superior de Arte in the Cuban capital. In 1990, he moved from Cuba to Mexico City, and there he co-founded the Patronato de Arte Contemporáneo in 1999. It is a civicphilanthropic platform to support art practices and art criticism in public forums in Mexico.