Adriana Ospina, MA art history '13, is Curator of the Permanent Collection at the Art Museum of the Americas

by Adriana Ospina

Adriana Ospina, MA art history '13, is Curator of the Permanent Collection at the Art Museum of the Americas
Adriana Ospina (MA '13) is Curator of the Permanent Collection at the Art Museum of the Americas, Organization of American States

My new exhibit, No Ocean Between Us: Art of Asian Diasporas in Latin America & the Caribbean was conceived eight years ago following the opening of another exhibition, FUSION: Tracing Asian Migration to the Americas through AMA's Collection. The objects in both exhibitions are from the permanent collection of the Art of the Americas (AMA) of the Organization of American States (OAS).


Through extensive work with the AMA's historical archives, I realized that in the late 1950s, the OAS had begun a rather thorough exploration of artists of Japanese origin in the Americas. Over the years, the AMA has extended its interests to include Caribbean artists of Chinese, Indian, and Indonesian origin. The impact of the exhibition Fusion and promotion of these artists can be seen in the AMA collection, which holds a considerable number of works of Latin American and Caribbean artists of Asian descent. Although we were not the only institution bringing this area of study to the forefront of our focus, there is no question this area needs more academic focus.


At the time of the Fusion exhibit, I had just graduated from GMU with my master's degree in art history. For Fusion, we worked with GMU in several ways. Fellow GMU alumnus Shira Loev contributed, and the university provided essential support alongside the guidance of GMU Professor Michele Greet. A few years after the close of Fusion, the International Arts and Artists (IA&A), an NGO based in Washington, D.C., approached the AMA looking for an exhibition project that could travel. In partnership with IA&A, we expanded Fusion into a far richer and more extensive project that tells the stories of these migrations and what they represent for Latin American art.


A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities helped to make the research possible, including archival visits and the formation of an advisory group. Professor Michele Greet served on the advisory group and worked with us for six years until the public opening of the exhibition. When the San Antonio Museum of Art proposed the title No Ocean Between Us for the exhibit, we decided to adopt that title for all future locations of the exhibit as well. The exhibition has also traveled to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Michigan; the Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, D.C.; the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and ultimately it will go to the Middlebury College Museum of Art, Vermont. Major newspapers, such as the Washington Post, have positively reviewed the exhibit and it continues to earn praise from visitors.


GMU's professors and students have been a constant throughout my career, providing me with incredible resources while preparing me for the curatorial work that I am now doing.