ZELIKA GARCIA: “I FIND INSPIRATION IN THE ENORMOUS ARTISTIC PROPOSAL THAT EXISTS”
LATINNESS: Did you always know you wanted to work in the art world?
ZELIKA: Art has inspired me from a very young age and creativity, in general. That’s why I studied Art at the University of Monterrey in Mexico thinking I’d graduate and become an artist. I remember my grandmother once took me to a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition that I still hold dear to my heart to this day. It was an important moment for my interest in this universe.
LATINNESS: Congratulations on breaking a record with ZSONAMACO this year! Beyond the art industry, the fair has transformed Mexico City’s cultural scene. As you close this edition, what’s the biggest change you’ve seen since launching?
ZELIKA: Personally ZSONAMACO represents a great catalyst, which also encourages cultural activities in the city. It’s established itself as the most important art fair in Latin America, promoting art collecting and bringing together international galleries, artists, collectors and the general public in one place. This has contributed to Mexico becoming the epicenter of international art.
This year, for example, we also broke record in terms of the number of museum groups, curators, and art advisors from other countries.
LATINNESS: When starting this adventure, did you expect such success?
ZELIKA: I started ZSONAMACO in 2002, and in its first edition there were 40 participating galleries. At that time, I didn’t imagine the success the fair would have. Twenty years later, we’ve received more than 200 galleries from various countries and have built strong relationships with different sponsors. It’s also established itself as the most important fair in Latin America.
Now it’s a platform for other fairs: ZSONAMACO México Arte Contemporáneo, which I founded in 2002; ZSONAMACO Design, which was born in 2011; ZSONAMACO Salón del Anticuario, which emerged in 2014, and ZSONAMACO PHOTO, which held its first edition in 2015.
LATINNESS: You’re starting a new project. Where did the idea for Art Baja California come from?
ZELIKA: It was born out of the ZSONAMACO Art Week, which took place in 2021 as an alternative event to the fair during the pandemic.
Throughout a full week, exhibitions were held in galleries in different areas of CDMX. El Patio was also presented on a very small scale.
From this experience, the idea arose of creating a festival that consists of artistic circuits for 45 consecutive days with interventions, exhibitions, performances, cinema, design and music, amongst other artistic projects.
LATINNESS: What do you hope to achieve with this initiative?
ZELIKA: To promote collaborations that strengthen the concept of community between gallery owners, artists, collectors, designers, local spaces and the general public in Mexico and other countries.
The goal is to take this festival to places like Tijuana and Mexicali, hence the name ABC Art Baja California. Our intention is to geographically expand the festival.
LATINNESS: How do ZSONAMACO and ABC differ?
ZELIKA: ZSONAMACO is an art fair whose format is totally different from ABC, a cultural festival with venues in La Paz, San José and Todos Santos, and that not only present art, but also cinema, design, music and gastronomy.
LATINNESS: We’ve interviewed several Mexican artists who talk about a certain camaraderie that exists between creatives in the art industry in Mexico. Do you identify with this?
ZELIKA: I think it’s important that the art industry supports each other and I think that’s what they mean. Personally I’ve been able to collaborate with different artists, gallery owners, collectors and professionals.
LATINNESS: You’re not an artist, but your work is very creative. What do you do to get inspired?
ZELIKA: I find inspiration in the enormous artistic proposal that exists today and in the need for spaces to promote it.
Images courtesy of Zelika Garcia and ZSONAMACO.