video document of the installation "Debajo del agua" (Under Water), November 2015 at El Museo Gallery in Bogota, Colombia (resin, polyurethane and acrylic on ceramic - 70 pieces on the ground, ink and acrylic on the wall, real sound of the colombian jungle of the Magdalena River surrounds the room) The exhibition was held with the support of the German Embassy and the Peruvian Embassy in Colombia and the Humboldt Institute gave its Soundbank.
UNDER WATER, 2015
“Have you also learned the secrete of the river; that there is no such thing as time?
Herman Hesse, Siddhartha
If we look for the etymological root of “hippopotamus” in ancient Greek, we will find the composition: underwater. Indeed, hippos are a semi-aquatic species that lives in rivers, in a certain way hidden in the depths of streams or raising their eyes above the water of tributaries.
Adriana Ciudad’s intervention presented at Galería El Museo, uses as reference the hippos brought by Pablo Escobar in the eighties. Once the drug dealer was killed, the animals escaped from Hacienda Nápoles, getting lost in the Colombian jungle and multiplying by the riverbanks. Today, these hoofed mammals have found a home in the wilderness near the streams and creeks.
These hippos that were brought from Africa – displaced from their home and taken to other lands – become a metaphor for those sent into the jungle during the armed conflict in Colombia, forced to turn this hostile environment into their shelter. They seem to be invisible in the eyes of contemporary society, which will not see beyond the watery surface. Some claim that having these animals lost at the Magdalena River is dangerous and that they cause deaths among peasants and multiply rapidly; others defend them against those times attempts have been made to kill them with bullets. There are even some who say that these mammals are killed for their meat.
In a way, these baby hippos that take over the space of the gallery could be metaphor of child combatants in Colombia, of what nature means to them. A priori it appears as an eerie place for its beauty, its smells and its sounds – recreated in the exhibition space – but which, beyond its utopian and exotic conception, becomes a witness, a prison for crimes instead. For these children the forest represents a cage, a place of violence, uprooting and pain. Debajo del Agua first throws us into an aesthetic experience through the sounds of the jungle, colors and shapes of the intervention that take on different layers when you go through the piece. So, we will slowly walk toward an awakening in which we note the artist’s strong criticism of a dramatic social and environmental reality.
Through her intervention in Galería El Museo, the Peruvian-German artist takes on an ecological vision of the hippos’ situation in Colombia that appear to be hidden in the river with time standing still, while this temporary paralysis gives them a new identity every day. Similarly, she analyzes the imagination of these children through its formalization and conceptualization, emphasizing the power of color and the potential of drawing that go beyond their limits. Her poetic language makes it possible to merge relevant social issues with a surrounding aesthetic that does not go unnoticed.
The art installations analyze the exoticized imaginary of the rainforest though its formalization and conceptualization: at first sight, breathtaking for its beauty and dimension but at the same time its utopian conception turns it into a witness of crime.
The project seeks to take the Amazon rainforest in itself not only as a protagonist of the Colombian armed conflict, but also as a victim of crimes and environmental disasters caused by war.
The intention is to instill in the spectator those mixed feelings one has when encountering Colombia’s natural landscapes: on the one hand, astonishment for its magnificence, and on the other one, indignation for the crimes committed within the rainforest. The intrinsic intention of my work and in this particular project is to explore the possibilities of drawing and painting: its limits and encounters.
Matorrales / 2015 / vista instalación - parte de la muestra colectiva "Cero Normal" en Instituto de Visión, Bogotá / acuarela, tinta y lápiz sobre papel / tinta y acrílico sobre pared / 97 x 126 cm / medidas variables
acuarela, tinta y lápiz sobre papel / 97 x 126 cm
Llegaron ahí y nos dijeron que qué... 01/ 2015 - vista instalación - parte de la muestra colectiva "Lenguajes de Papel" en la Galería El Museo, Bogotá / acuarela, tinta y lápiz sobre papel / tinta y sobre pared / 70 x 100 cm / medidas variables
acuarela, tinta y lápiz sobre papel / 70 x 100 cm
After a year of living and working in Colombia, the series “Como Corderos entre Hipopótamos” [Like Lambs between Hippopotamus]. came to life. The 23 drawings are an emotional X-Ray of the children of Colombia’s armed conflict. Based on real interviews of former child soldiers, it seeks to portray the complex dynamic between innocence and violence.
The piece of art “Puericultura” departs from this series and also from the review of similar issues in Peru.. It is based on a current article (January 2015) from the magazine Correo Semanal that reports how Sendero Luminoso is rearming itself in the Vraem. They have built new camps called Puericultorios where 138 children are being indoctrinated. These children, who for the most part are Ashánincas, are the military reserve of the armed group.
The drawings Matorral 1 to 4 refer to the children and to what nature and the rainforest could mean to them. As a first impression a startling place for its beauty, scents and sounds but at the same time, its utopian and exoticized conception turns it into a witness of crime.
Matorral 1 / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 55 x 65 cm
Matorral 2 / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 55 x 65 cm
Matorral 3 / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 55 x 65 cm
Matorral 4 / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 55 x 65 cm
No Hay Remedio (Todo está al Revés), 2015
There is no remedy (Everything is upside down)
This series originates from two places: the images come from the Fiesta de la Candelaria [Festival of Candelaria] in Puno and the text referring to each drawing are taken from the indigenous chronicler Poma de Ayala. In associating both image and text, the artist Adriana Ciudad aims to create tension, or perhaps, reveal an already millenary intrinsical tension both in the drawings and the texts that she uses.
For its part, the photos of the Festival of the Virgin of Candelaria reveal syncretisms and historical tensions which have been part of it since its birth in colonial times. Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, in his book “The First New Chronicle and Good Government” from 1615, reveals the confused perspective of a Christian indigenous who condemns but also exalts the consequences of colonialism. His words are filled with wisdom and ignorance, racism and indigenous pride.
In relating image with word in this series, Adriana Ciudad makes tensions, contradictions and syncretisms even more visible. A curious affinity arises between the strokes of a contemporary festival and the words from more than 400 years old. As a result, the series ends up being a contradiction in itself: it celebrates but also questions the origins of Peruvian identity, plays with the splendor of its colors and the weight of the past, without ever trying to judge, only revealing if necessary what is already evident but invisible.
Camilo Salazar Prince
La Vergüenza / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 17 x 24 cm
Leche de Indias / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 17 x 24 cm
Perdidas / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 17 x 24 cm
Solteras y Doncellas / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 17 x 24 cm
El Indio más Cristiano / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 24 x 32 cm
Demonios / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 24 x 32 cm
Negros Esclavos / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 24 x 32 cm
Se alzarán / watercolor, ink and pencil on paper / 24 x 32 cm