Friday, October 14, 2011

A Flowering of Art in La Macarena

Biodiversity bulls eye: An exhibition at Peregrino gallery and flower shop looks at Colombia's violence and its impact on biodiversity. 
La Macarena, the trendy central Bogotá neighborhood above the bullfighting plaza, has grown rapidly over the last few years, with new restaurants, erotica (including an afrodisiac restaurant) and several art galleries, making about six galleries in all.

At the moment, two of them, the Peregrino gallery/flower shop on Carrera 5 near 26th St., is displaying prints of sketches about Colombia's violence and biodiversity - two things the country has a great abundance of. Violence and biodiversity have a complex relationship in this country. On the one hand, the complex armed conflict between guerrillas, the military, paramilitary forces and drug cartels has damaged lots of natural areas, much of it caused by both the drug economy and the government efforts to erradicate drug crops. But the country's violence has also frightened oil, coal and other resource extraction industries from many of Colombia's remote regions, conserving them, albeit unintentionally.

Another work at Peregrino. 

The Valenzuela Klenner Gallery, just south of Peregrino, has a show of photographs by Colombian-America artist Steve Ferry, also about Colombia's culture of violence, but from a more cotidian perspective. These photos show scenes from corralejas, a tradition in cattle raising towns in which young men, often drunken, play at bullfighting. Many get gored in this coming of age thing.

People react to corraleja violence. 
Colombians are wonderful people, but the country has suffered chronic violence in the forms of multiple civil wars, drug-financed guerrilla and cartel violence and an unjustifiably high rate of homicides. I can only think that this results from all of the black market money from the drug trade which finances these groups and Colombia's very unequal wealth distribution: a situation which is often correlated with high violence rates.

FARC guerrilla fighters with now-deceased FARC founder Manuel Marulanda. 

A bull charges with a cape wrapped around its head. 
The Alonso Garces Gallery on the north end of the same block of Carrera 5 has an exposition by Ana Mercedes Hoyos called 'Lazos de Sangre' (Blood Ties) about slavery and AfroColombian history, altho not many of the works have specific images about those subjects.

A few years ago these giant ants were placed on the Congress building and other  Bogotá monuments. They represent the nation's displaced people, and the ants' body parts were molded using skulls. 

Galeria Dos Casas, on Calle 26c above Carrera 4, which opened in May, has this exhibition called 'In Corpus Hominis' about the human body. 

See also: Bogotá's Contemporary Art Fair 2011

Find La Macarena's art galleries on their Facebook page: 

Valenzuela Klenner: Carrera 5 No. 26-28 Tel: 243-7752

Peregrino: Carrera 5 No. 26b-52 Tel: 283-3845 or Cel: 310-297-8308

Alonso Garces: On the corner of Carrera 5 and Calle 26c

Galeria Dos Casas: Calle 26c No. 4-23 Tel: 286-0209 Cel: 321-205-4122

Galeria Mu: Carrera 4 No. 26b Tel: 282-0496

Galeria Mundo: Las Torres del Parque, the tall apartment building on Carrera 5 above the bullfighting stadium.

N-CE Arte Carrera 5 No. 26B-76

Luvina Libreria: Carrera 5 No. 26c-06

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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