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o columbia

pastel and watercolour on paper + oil on panel

The photographs and paintings in"O Colombia" feature strange-looking gold birds and masks, all of which are fashioned after pre-Columbian gold pieces now housed in the Gold Museum in Bogota. The gold pieces are remnants of societies governed by chiefs. Considered a sacred metal, gold once adorned political leaders and was used in offerings to placate the gods. 

Gold objects accompanied the dead to their tombs. The gold objects pictured in these works are now museum pieces, remnants of the lost civilizations which created them. They are tiny in size, only a few inches in length. The paintings portray them as large, demystified objects. They are sadly devoid of any practical use. The flying bird holds no life in its eye; it hovers like a blimp over a world unaware of its presence. The teaching bird preaches to others who pay no attention to it, and the racing bird competes with chickens in a race judged by a mask of a coca-chewing man most probably incapable of clear thinking. 

The gold pieces are all bluff and pretense. Except for their place in history, they have no use in relation to modern social mores. Lost in alienation, one large mask turns toward a world in which it can play no part. The crying bird on its left laments this loss of purpose. Beautifully tooled as they are, the gold artifacts have minimal value in relation to current life in Colombia. 
The paintings in this exhibition are acrylic on board. They are based on graffiti I photographed in Bogota. Several elements within them were appropriated from the graffiti images themselves. The works are thus linked to the daily life of Colombia. They combine modern Colombian imagery with reflections on the golden handiwork of pre-Colombian artisans.