Working in and with Latin America


The V&A holds over 700 objects from Latin America. A number of them were purchased at the inception of the Museum, just two years before the Great Exhibition of 1851. A selection of ceramics can be seen in the Ceramics Study and World Ceramics galleries, including 17th century unpainted earthenware ceramic búcaro vases from Mexico. In 2012, the new furniture galleries opened, featuring a selection of works from the region. A display devoted to Latin America will be included in the new Europe Galleries 1600-1800.


At the V&A

  • Making it up: Photographic Fictions (May 2013 – March 2014): This display included photographs by some of the most influential contemporary artists and featured Action Photo (After Hans Namuth, 1997) by Brazilian Vik Muniz as a centre piece.
  • Arthur Bispo do Rosário (August – October 2012): This display brought together over 80 artworks ranging from sculptures, hand-embroidered banners and garments, showcasing the creativity of Arthur Bispo do Rosario, one of Brazil’s most recognised artists. The display was part of the Cultural Olympiad organised around the London 2012 Olympic Games.
  • Che Guevara: Revolutionary & Icon (June – August 2006): This exhibition brought together photography, posters, film, fine art, clothing and artefacts from more than thirty countries, including Alberto Diaz Korda’s portrait of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, Guerrillero Heroico.

In Latin America

  • David Bowie Is (January – April 2014): The exhibition was displayed at the Museu da Imagem e do Som (MIS) in Sao Paulo, where it was seen by over 80,000 visitors. This was the first V&A exhibition in Latin America. David Bowie Is achieved extensive media coverage in Latin America, notably Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, whilst the exhibition was on show in South Kensington.


The V&A has lent objects to temporary exhibitions in Latin America for several years. Study of a Nude Man Raising his Body from a Recumbent Position by Rubens was on loan to the National Museum of Art, Mexico City, for the exhibition Jose Juarez in 2002. Standing Female Figure by Henry Moore was lent to the Museo Dolores Olmedo Patino, Mexico City, and MARCO, Monterrey, for the Henry Moore exhibition curated by the Tate in 2005. More recently, Coast Scene, Rio de Janeiro by Nicolas-Antoine Taunay was lent to the National Museum of Fine Arts, Rio de Janeiro, and the Picture Gallery of the State of Sao Paolo for the exhibition Nicolas-Antoine Taunay: A reading of the Tropics in 2008.


A study morning on Latin American Arts was organised by the V&A for ARTES (Iberian and Latin American Visual Culture Group) members in April 2012. A research paper by Kirstin Kennedy and Holly Trusted on ‘Colonial silver in the V&A’ was delivered.

The V&A advises the British Council on the conception and planning of Digital Futures UKMX events based on the successful V&A Digital Futures programme, which included in June 2015 a long weekend series of talks, performances, and prototyping events in Mexico City and Dundee. “Crafting Our Digital Futures” was published in September 2015 with the support of the AHRC and included contributions and reports from the Mexico City events.


The press office continues to work with press across the region with recent media coverage including Architectural Digest, Harpers Bazaar Brasil, Jornal da Moda Brasil, L’Officiel Mexico, and Mujer Chile. A number of pieces of coverage are expected to appear in Latin America for the exhibition Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear (16 April 2016 – 12 March 2017), including Vogue Mexico and ELLE Brazil.

The V&A currently has 16k Facebook fans from Brazil and 10k from Mexico. Of the 898k followers on Twitter, the V&A has 8k followers from Mexico. On Instagram, out of 200k fans in total, the V&A has around 5k fans in Brazil.


Institutional Collaborations

  • The V&A started recently to engage more actively with colleagues in Latin America, with a particular focus on Brazil, Chile, and Mexico:
    - Brazil: Tour of the country by the Head of Exhibitions, Linda Lloyd Jones, in 2011; visit by the Director in April 2013;
    - Mexico: Development of a closer relationship with the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes and the San Ildefonso College.

Diplomatic Relationships

  • The Brazilian Minister of Culture, Marta Suplicy, visited the V&A in December 2012.


  • AHRC PhD: Federico Duarte was awarded the V&A/Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership for a PhD on contemporary design practice with a specific focus on designer-led community projects in Brazil. The project, ‘Our poor, beautiful and culturally rich country’: the contemporary challenge of Brazilian design, is co-supervised by Jana Scholze (FTF) and Luciana Martins (Birkbeck). Federico began his PhD in October 2014 and is continuing his research.The Friday Late ‘Journeys from the South’ (July 2015): This was done in collaboration with the Argentine Embassy. Argentine artists, performances and craft workshops were exhibited at the Museum. This was the highest attendance ever at a Friday Late, with 6,865 visitors.
  • Marcelo Nisinman Trio (4 July 2014): The three distinctive musicians presented a repertoire of instrumental tango, combining traditional elements of tango with contemporary music and distortions.
  • Roundtable on Brazilian Art and Design (March 2014): The V&A Research Department organised a roundtable with the support of the Brazilian Embassy, looking at issues related to contemporary Brazilian art and design.
  • London 2012: During the London Olympics, the V&A showcased Brazilian culture in South Kensington as part of the Cultural Olympiad.
    - Rio Occupation was organised to celebrate the relationship between the Olympic cities of London and Rio de Janeiro; Brazilian artists in residence Breno Pineschi, Eric Fuly and Robson Rozza, held open studios at the V&A’s Sackler Centre, July–August 2012.
    - Azul dos Ventos (Blue of the Winds) brought together over 80 artworks ranging from sculptures, hand-embroidered banners and garments, made by Arthur Bispo do Rosario (1909-1989), one of Brazil’s most well-known artists. On display in South Kensington, August–September 2012, funded by the City of Rio’s Cultural Ministry through the Cultural Olympiad.
  • The Arts in Latin America, 1492 – 1820 (2006): The V&A Senior Curator of Sculpture, Holly Trusted, collaborated with the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the organisation of the exhibition The Arts in Latin America, 1492-1820 and contributed to the catalogue.


The exhibition catalogue for David Bowie Is was co-editioned with the V&A in Portuguese by the Brazilian publisher Cosac Naify, and was reprinted twice during the run of the exhibition. A book sales agent, David Williams, was appointed by Abrams and Chronicle for the region.


Baroque and Later Ivories, by Holly Trusted, Senior Curator of Sculpture, includes several Latin American objects and was published in November 2013. Holly Trusted also published other references to Latin American sculptures in Spanish Sculpture: A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1996.

  • Holly Trusted, Survivors of a Shipwreck. Ivories from a Manila Galleon of 1601, The Hispanic Research Journal, Vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 446-62 (2013)
  • Holly Trusted, Baroque and Later Ivories (V&A, 2013)
  • Holly Trusted, The Arts of Spain: Iberia and Latin America 1450-1700 (V&A, 2007)
  • Holly Trusted, Exotic Devotion: Sculpture in Viceregal America and Brazil, 1520-1820 in The Arts in Latin America, 1492-1820 (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2006)
  • Trisha Ziff, ed. Che Guevara: Revolutionary and Icon (V&A, 2006)
  • Holly Trusted, Spanish Sculpture: A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A, 1996)