Contributors

The Essex Collection of Art from Latin America is supported in its work by academic staff and students at the University of Essex, as well as external researchers. This community contributes texts and papers to our online catalogue and to other ESCALA publications.

Valerie Fraser

Olga Blinder biography

Olga Blinder's formal education at the National University in Asunción was first in engineering (1939-1943) and later education (1962-65). She also studied painting under Ofelia Echagüe and Brazilian João Rossi and engraving under another Brazilian, Livio Abramo. She was co-founder of the Arte Nuevo group in 1954 when it exhibited works in the streets of Asunción under the rubric "Primera Semana de Arte Moderno Paraguayo" in emulation of the Brazilian Week of Modern Art of 1922. In the 1950s she played in key role in breaking with the deep-rooted academicism of Paraguayan art and engaging with more modern debates about both form and content. Her work distils images and ideas down to the essentials, combining simplification of form with a deeply felt concern for the human condition, particularly women and children.

Blinder was very active as an educator, following Abramo's belief that art should be a part of everyone's lives. In the 1950s she painted murals in several schools in Asunción. In 1972 she and Carlos Colombino put together a travelling exhibition of their own work, the Colección Circulante, that was designed to disseminate new artistic ideas around the country. The collection, augmented with contributions from other artists formed, the nucleus of the Museo Paraguayo de Arte Contemporáneo, founded in 1973. She served as Director of the Paraguayan branch of the Brazilian Escolinha de Arte (Little Art School) from its foundation in 1959 until 1976. She organised and directed the modern art workshops of the Brazilian Cultural Mission from 1963 to 1976 and was a member of the organising committee of the Consejo Latinoamericano de Educación por el Arte (CLEA) and founding president of the Paraguayan Association of Education through Art (APEA). She has published extensively on art and education.

Blinder had her first solo show in Asunción in 1952 and her work was included in the second Bienal of São Paulo of 1953. Over the last fifty years she exhibited in many solo and collective shows in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, and elsewhere in Latin and North America, Europe and Japan. In 1973 the Brazilian government made her a member of the Order of Rio Branco and in 1980 she received an Honorable Mention from the Liga Paraguaya de los Derechos de la Mujer (Paraguayan League of Women's Rights). She was awarded the Latin American Integration prize by the Argentinian Ministry of Culture and Education.

Valerie Fraser, 2008

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