Hello again! This has been a very busy week for me and a very exciting one as well. Here is a glimpse of what I have been doing and whom I have been seeing these days. I will post again next Monday with some exciting news and pictures of the opening weekend of the 1st Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena.
After spending a couple of days in Bogota recovering from the transatlantic flight and getting used to the altitude, on the 29th January I flew to Cartagena de Indias, the walled city on the Colombian Caribbean declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, for the opening reception party of the Hay Festival given by Rurik Ingram and Ofelia Rodriguez at their home.
The Hay Festival is one of the world’s biggest cultural and literary festivals and I was certainly not dissapointed with the talks and concerts I attended. I was specially pleased with Tom Hart Dyke in conversation with Rosie Boycott, Irvine Welsh in conversation with Eleanor Watcher, Rushir Sharma discussing Colombia’s position in the emerging markets of the world, Michael Sandel, who discussed morals in marketing and the amazing concerts of the Latin Grammy Award-winning Choc Quib Town and the synthesis of Afro Latin Salsa with Scottish traditional music of Salsa Celtica.
During my stay in Cartagena I also had time to meet with Maria de la Paz Jaramillo, whom I will exhibit in London, and visit some very interesting exhibitions such as the one organized by Norma Uparela, owner of Arte Cartagena Gallery at the Cartagena Convention Centre.
On the 1st February I flew back to Bogota to meet the marvellous Colombian abstract painter Carlos Jacanamijoy and choose the work I will exhibit in London in May. I also had the opportunity to spend a wonderful day visiting the City Centre and the streets of Candelaria with my host Guillermo Londoño and meet with Ana Isabel Diez from Medellin to discuss her work involving Colombian landscapes as a methaphor for social issues.
Two days ago, on the 5th January I came back to Cartagena for the opening weekend of the 1st Biennial of Contemporary Art. Yesterday, I visited a very moving exhibition in the Cathedral of San Pedro Cloisters of papier mâché masks created by women victims of the armed conflict in Colombia in the Region of Montes de Maria, Departamento Bolivar, west of the city. These masks, afford them a medium to communicate the history and the consequences which the conflict had on them through artistic expression.
Last night the Cartagena Biennial organisers hosted a cocktail party for artists, press and invited guests to meet before the beginning of the Biennial this morning, at the Caribe Hotel in Bocagrande, outside the old city in the modern high rise, seaside resort area. A vision of the past..1930’s…the hotel was elegant and the artists were engaging as they explained their works ranging from sound installations to monumental sculptures. Oscar Murillo was very charming, but rather secretive about his work so looking forward to seeing it today as well as works of many of the other 45 international artists who are participating.
Have a nice weekend and make sure to check the blog next Monday for a post on the most interesting artworks presented at this first edition of the Biennial!