Category: Colombia, 2020


February 2.  

After breakfast, we head out with Federico Ruiz, one of Bogotá’s best and most accomplished art dealers. Federico comes by being an art dealer honestly. His father is a painter, his younger brother, Felipe, 35, a sculptor of considerable note in Colombia, his aunt a painter and his uncle another art dealer. Federico has many clients in the US and has visited there frequently, including a stint of one year that he spent in Cincinnati visiting relatives after his mother told him he had to leave the house when he informed her that he was dropping out of business school and studying psychology. Among other things, Federico has a masters in consumer psychology.

Unfortunately, since it is Sunday, the art galleries are closed, but Federico has arranged for us to visit the studios of three artists. The first, Walbert Perez, is it an abstract artist. We spend a fascinating hour and a half discussing with him various aspects of his work and the art business, with Federico chiming in, both as a translator and a participant.

Back in the car, Federico shares, at our request, his observations on us, based on his consumer psychology course. We thinks we’re tough, but experienced, and that Carol is the decision maker. The second artist we visit, Camilo Pinto, does modern paintings of women, with elements of animals and ecology woven in. His father is a well-known landscape painter and many of his paintings are in the house, as well. while his work is interesting enough, and some of his fathers paintings are quite lovely, we do not engage him in conversation nearly as well as we did with Walbert, and so spend only a half an hour or so with him.

 By far the most interesting stop of the day is at La Colina, a boutique hotel owned by Federico and his family. Some years ago they converted a large old house into a hotel which currently has seven rooms, five of which are in use and are decorated very nicely and distinctively with different kinds of art.

Here is a photo of Federico in the lobby with some of his brother’s colorful metal sculptures in the background. The Bogotá police have given Felipe many tons of knives and similar weapons that they have confiscated, which he is converting to sculpture with positive themes.

Here is a painting by Federico’s dad, hung in one of the guest rooms.

 My favorites by far are the rough wooden sculptures that Felipe cut with a chain saw. The group is called diversity. I tell Federico that I think the large piece belongs in the collection of the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, South Africa, and that I will explore this possibility with Albie Sachs, the former a Constitutional Court Justice who used to head their art committee. Carol and I know Albie and have been with him and his delightful architect wife, Vanessa, three times.Next we drove to Madre, a happening kind of restaurant in the center of the city with live music. Much good conversation with Federico over lunch.After lunch we visited our last artist’s studio, that of Luis Fernando, famous in Colombia as an actor that Federico compared in popularity to Brad Pitt. Luis Fernando had several very different types of art work, including wire figures covered with a material on which he grows moss.

He also does figures which he “draws” with metal wire. Perhaps most interesting were photos of amazing origami dresses made of paper by his wife.

Afterwards, we head back to our hotel for a brief stop before dinner..

In a stroke of extreme good luck, I discovered prior to our trip that our good friends John and Peggy Christie from DC were going to be in Colombia visiting their son, Than, who has been working in Columbia for more than twenty years with USAID .  I had not seen John and Peggy for four years, despite the fact that my daughter, Jodi, lives in DC. In fact, the last time I saw them was in Bogatá, when I was on a photography trip there. Now, four years later, we are able again to arrange a rendezvous in Bogotá. Go figure.

Than came over to the restaurant to visit briefly with us before dinner. We then enjoyed a long dinner with much good conversation with John and Peggy. Back to the hotel to pack for an early departure tomorrow morning.

All in all, a very good day, filled with personal connections.







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