HISTORY OF PACHAMAMA
TOLD BY ITS AUTHOR
Pachamama is the name that put you to this watercolor that can be one of the most in the world, was my biggest challenge in the artistic, personal, human and economic.
Since I began to paint professionally, I had the dream of painting a very large watercolor to show the goodness and versatility of such a beautiful pictorial technique with such a long-lasting prestige and history in our country, as well as, in the countries of the first world; I wanted to make it more contemporary, more competitive, more durable, and to refute the mistaken concept that it is easy and that it is not lasting.
The Museum of Modern Art of Cartagena de Indias in its Republican Room has a 12 meters long wall and that is where this work would be exhibited for the first time and gave rise to my determination to cover it all. At first, this size seemed unattainable and it was a huge challenge to any artist in the world and especially in Colombia, where watercolor is not appreciated and valued. In fact, on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, the exhibition of this work was inaugurated and its title was: DISCOVERING THE IMMENSITY OF NATURE.
This project and dream had many setbacks and inconveniences that I had to overcome with great efforts. One of them was to get the paper because manufacturers in France, Italy, the United States, Holland and Japan had rolls only 10 meters long, and in despair, I almost made the decision to paint it in a 10 meters long paper. While visiting New York, at the studio of my friend and colleague, painter Darío Ortiz, I told him about these setbacks and he became interested in helping me and in an art shop in number 62 of Third Avenue in Manhattan, we found a roll of English watercolor paper, 1.50 meters wide, 41 meters long, 638 g/m2, and whose weight was 90 kilos. It was a Saunders Waterford, a brand which I did not know and whose cost was enormous, as was the transportation cost to Colombia and curiously when the roll arrived in Bogota, it was seized by customs because by that time in our country, it was forbidden by law to bring in goods, whose price exceeded US$5000. There were many arguments and bureaucratic procedures, lobbying from office to office justifying that it was for an artistic project and the fine that I had to pay was high, however finally the roll arrived in my studio at a cost of a new car of the time.
At the end of July, 2008, I left my beloved family and began all the preparations to move to Cartagena de Indias; shortly after I sent the contents of my studio by land from Bogota, and travelled in my private car, full of the materials I use to paint. My destination was in Calle de las Damas, in the historic district of the city, a very old house called El Bodegón de la Candelaria and the rental cost of this house exceeded any average lease in the city.
In order to take advantage of the natural light, I chose the entrance to the main hall as the ideal space to place the frame that would house the work. This room has five double-wing doors, whose size and design allowed the fresh breeze from the sea to come in, together with the canicular light of the Caribbean.
At the beginning of August 2008, in the early hours of a hot morning, I began a pencil diagram of the work, clinging to the imagination of that jungle that always haunts me, that is with me and appears without warning, like an eternal and indissoluble bond that governs me and that leads me to keep the same respect of the first day when I saw Mother Earth, our Pachamama in the Amazon jungle of Colombia in my 15 years living in it.
This work was finished after 10 continuous and unrepeatable weeks, as well as, many work sessions in arduous work of up to 15 and 20 hours per day.
I suffered financial shortness, anxiety and pressure to finish within the established term, with the watching eye of the national and international media, art critics, and the city itself, unbelievers and poor critics of the smallest details and of the development of the project, which was not financed by any art and culture promotion agency, either private or public of the country, which looked the other way. Thus, I decided to take on the very high costs demanded by the development of the work and therefore I had to give up the last penny of my savings, which I have not yet recovered.
Today, Pachamama (that in Quechua language means “Mother Earth”) is my greatest pride as a creator, which I wish to make of it a useful artistic work as an element of visual persuasion, put to the service of the ecological education of the citizens of the planet and of current and future generations, because the discourse of social criticism and ecological education must understand the need to save and protect the environment and with rainforests and the Amazon.
The purpose of a work of art with these characteristics is to look for the best feelings of harmony and the connection between man and nature; it is the search for the primary, for the sacred, for the observer whoever her or she may be, to establish a communion and a dialogue between people’s imagination and actions, awakening peaceful feelings of love for their origin and the essence of life, because in my opinion the worst enemy of tropical forests are not the voracity of the combination of socioeconomic or political factors, nor the neglect of the environmental authorities, nor the indiscriminate use of this natural wealth, -wonderful source of life- nor the technological advances, but the indifference and ignorance of the citizens of the world with respect to the natural landscape.