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Natalia Majluf

Natalia Majluf, Director of MALI


Lima, Peru

Following a long trajectory as director of the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), renowned art historian Natalia Majluf will leave her post in September of this year to resume her research work. Beginning in October, Majluf will attend the Simón Bolívar Chair in Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge in England.

The Simón Bolivar Chair in Latin American Studies was established in 1968 for the purpose of bringing a distinguished Latin American scholar to Cambridge.

Natalia Majluf began working at the Museo de Arte de Lima in March of 1995, becoming the first head curator of that institution under the leadership of Walter Piazza-Tangüis, MALI's president of the board, and Cecilia Alayza de Losada, then director of MALI. Since then, her broad vision and great managing skills have benefited the museum with its largest transformation since it foundation (1954–1961).

During her tenure—and based on the Memoria Prado, the museum's foundational collection—Majluf expanded the collections to more than 8,000 pieces, making it one of most representative offers of art in Peru. She expanded the painting and silver collections and developed the collections of regional art, photography, costumbrismo, and contemporary art. Likewise, she spearheaded the creation of two collections that are currently being shaped and developed: the Andean textile art and Amazonian art collections.

Today, the more than 17,000 works in the collection have been cataloged through a dedicated software program available online at MALI's homepage. It is the result of a digitalization process that has made the collections more available than ever to the public. Majluf has been directly involved in the creation of committees for the acquisition of historic and contemporary art, the latter resulting in the consolidation of the museum's contemporary art collection, today regarded as the most important of its kind in the region.

In terms of infrastructure, the MALI director led the complete revamping of the Palacio de la Exposición, including the comprehensive remodeling of the exhibition rooms containing the permanent collection on the museum's second level. The project was designed by Emilio Soyer with the support of Mincetur. In 2016, Majluf and architect Gary Legget oversaw the call for proposals for the museum expansion developed in the new "Bicentenario" building located at the corner of Garcilaso and Paseo Colón.

During her tenure as director of the museum, Majluf has overseen the organization of nearly 150 exhibitions and fifty publications that have advanced the documentation of the history of Peruvian art. She centered the efforts of the museum on academic research, consolidated the library, and created the "Peruvian Art Archive" (ARCHI), today the most important repository of material about art in Peru. She also contributed to the establishment of alliances with international museums that have resulted in the organization of some of the most important exhibitions produced by the museum abroad.

But her greatest accomplishment has been the development of a team of professionals trained in the different areas of the museum following the highest international standards, making the MALI an institutional model and referent both at the local and international levels.

Natalia Majluf said goodbye to the museum with the following words: "Institutions need to renew themselves. It gives me great satisfaction to know that today the Museo de Arte de Lima is a solid institution with an extraordinary future ahead […] This future is guaranteed by all the people that contribute to the museum's existence. The museum is equally dependent on the generous dedication of the board members, the existence of its professional team, and the permanent support of the visiting public."

After her departure, Majluf will continue supporting the museum in several projects. She will be part of the academic committee that advises the team of the museum, will conclude the work developed for the "Vanguard Networks. Amauta and Latin America, 1926–1930," a travelling exhibition to open at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in February of 2019, and will also take the reins of the "MALI Found," an initiative that seeks to give the museum greater economic support. About this, Majluf said: "Our goal is to make this initiative the source for one third of the museum's operational expenses in twenty years' time."

Cecilia Pardo, curator of collections and of Pre-Columbian art, will become the deputy director of the MALI. In the meantime, the board of the museum has already begun the search for a new director who can lead the institution and take on the great challenges ahead. 



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