“By means of this award, year after year, a collection of artworks shall be created which reflects the main artistic movements of the 21st Century in Mallorca”

Interview with Mercedes Estarellas, gallery owner, curator, cultural manager, founder of Kaplan Projects and promoter of the 2022 Mallorca International Art Awards

The first Gala of the 2022 Mallorca International Art Awards has been celebrated, which was promoted, among others, by Kaplan Projects, your art gallery. What is your assessment?

The assessment couldn’t be more positive. The international team of MIAA worked hard to create this award during two years. The success of this work is due to the major participation by the artists, the support from major collectors and institutions as well as the creation of a contacts network, which will undoubtedly help the international projection of contemporary art from Mallorca.

How did the idea arise to launch these awards and what are the aspirations of this initiative?

The idea was inspired by a conversation with Paul Feldhof (entrepreneur and art collector) about the quality of the Island’s cultural sector, and art’s potential to create networks and community. We mutually agreed that it would be a good idea to create an award, specifically to create a community and introduce a foreign resident profile to Mallorca’s cultural life. With the collaboration of local and international agents, we set up a circular economy mechanism, which starts from the ultra-local level to reach the international community which then reverts back to the island.

It is a monetary award which recognises 2 artists, but it actually benefits everyone, since it not only exhibits the artworks by the winners but also features an exhibition of artists from Mallorca in Frankfurt, which will likewise be strongly supported by the same promoters.

By means of this award, year after year, a collection of artworks shall be created which reflects the main artistic movements of the 21st Century in Mallorca.

After a long career in the art world, how would you describe the experience of creating your own artistic space jointly with other professionals from the sector?

I have worked in the art world for over 20 years. All the projects that I have carried out have been organised as a gallery owner, curator or cultural manager and have been based on the intense work to build solid careers for artists, trying to make sure that every project connects and adds something to the previous one.

My last project, Kaplan Projects, was founded on the will to create an international artists network which would help us to communicate the ideas of the diverse artists who are developing interesting discourses and ideas. It is the result of many years of experience, which became a very solid artist representation project, which has allowed me to continue creating the cultural network, provide expert advice to large collections and encourage new collectors to discover this fascinating art world.

“La Nit de l’Art” (Art Night) has become an essential event attended by the islands’ most representative artists. Where do you think that this celebration is now and where do you believe it will be focused in the upcoming years?

“La Nit de l’Art” is an event that now exists in the collective memory of Mallorca’s society. It is a major event because it talks about Mallorca’s idiosyncrasy and more specifically, the value that we place on art here on the island. I think that as the event becomes more popular, the quality of what it offers will continue to grow. I believe the challenge consists in creating incentives for the intersection of artistic disciplines to foster a greater understanding of art in general by the spectators. Education and teaching are very important so that increasingly more people can enjoy visual culture as an experience that provides well-being to their lives.

How long have you known Buades Legal and what is the professional relationship that unites you?

Joan Buades has been one of the persons in Palma who, without belonging to the art world, has collaborated most to build the network of the island’s cultural industry. We met in early 2000, when I inaugurated my first project and he invested in artists that were difficult for the general public to understand.

He has always been closely related to art and as a patron; he has enjoyed witnessing the growth of the artists from the islands. He deeply believes in the quality of the local scene. The support that he has provided to risky projects in which few believed has made him a key person for the cultural growth on the island.

What are the challenges that faced by Kaplan Projects, your gallery devoted to art and cultural management?

The first challenge is to achieve a stable programme with top quality for the Kaplan spaces. The second goal is to celebrate the second edition of MIAA, as well as successfully conclude the cycle of the first edition with the exhibition of artists from Mallorca at the Tor space in Frankfurt.