Entitled The Milk of Dreams named after a children’s book by Surrealist painter Leonora Carringon, the 59th Venice Biennale attempts to explore life in transformation through imagination. The curator Cicilia Alemani outlined three lines of exploration including the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; the connection between bodies and the Earth. Several artists from Latin America were invited to respond to the theme.
Belkis Ayón presented a series of paintings representing Sikán the princess of the Abakuá society, also known as an Afro-Cuban version of Freemasonry. Gabriel Chaile presents five huge sculpture-ovens that represent his family through pre-Columbian indigenous references. Rosana Paulino’s drawings explore various themes related to Afro-Brazilian culture including Black enslaved women who breastfed their master’s children. Delcy Morelos filled a whole hall with masses of earth mixed with hay, cassava flour, cacao powder, and spices for an overwhealming aromatic effect to reference Andean and Amerindian cosmologies and ways of relating to nature. While Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe offers abstract monoprints inspired by his Yanomami culture as a way to preserve indigenous memory.