In 2004, marriage Alonso Arellano decided, after the early death of his only son, to create a foundation that not only serves to pay homage to his son, but to prevent the spread of the works of art that he had collected over time. And also all the art works from their own parents, collectors since the 50s. The result: a complex whole, with such diverse backgrounds including Chinese terracotta, decorative arts, Talavera ceramics, paintings and Spanish contemporary sculpture, African art and industrial archeology can be found in the museum.
But the ultimate goal was that these works are not simply stored, but that could be enjoyed by all and also properly preserved and studied. Hence the decision to transfer all funds to the University of Valladolid, institution subscribes Foundation, and within which is born the Museum of African Art Arellano Alonso.
In the early years, a part of the outstanding collection of contemporary painting and sculpture -composed of works by the most representative Spanish authors from the 50’s- was exposed in one of the three rooms of the center, located in the Palace of Santa Cruz. But we must highlight a special set consisting of works by young creators who, from the 90s, contributed to the renewal of the Spanish artistic language, figures now being enshrined and recognized at international level (f. e. Agnes Denes, Carmen Calvo, Marina Nuñez, Patricia Gadea, Blanca Munoz or Esther Pizarro).
However, in 2009, the patronage of Alonso Arellano Foundation decided to specialize the Museum in what makes us a unique center in the Spanish territory: the art of sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, today we can look at our three rooms an exceptional collection of figurative sculptures in terracotta, besides the “Kingdom of Oku”, composed by the shocking royalties and masks of secret societies from Cameroon.
As well as the exhibition, the Museum has an obligation to the general diffusion of African culture, we have always given priority to publicize the role of women in traditional cultures. We use as reference the exhibits (some dating from the V century BC), showing the role they played in their societies: women especially mothers and wives; but also warriors and queens. And we noted in our themed tours.
At present, the role of women in Africa is essential. They are “the future of Africa.” Therefore, coinciding especially with the March 8, we have prepared rooms for several years tables interpretation where visitors were able to discover writers, artists, politicians… women engaged in all areas who work from most difficulties.
This linkage and claim the role of women, has led us to organize in June 2015 the first #Occupygender meeting, with collaboration of Marta Alvarez, cultural manager. In the meeting Maria Sanchez presented the project #SaveGenderMuseum and we decided to become a sponsor. But during the meeting we also got to gather some of the collectives, groups and associations who are struggling every day to gender equality in our city, Valladolid.
So we have no choice but to support not only the idea of Maria Sanchez, but our colleagues from the Museum of Kharkov with all his energy, all his life are trying to change something in their country. From Valladolid (Spain) our support and affection.