It is interesting to step away from the art of Europe and the United States to focus on other amazing artists from other parts of the world. This exhibit focuses on two Latin American artists Fernando Botero and Fernando Chamarelli. Both have amazing talent and completely different visions when it comes to art. The contrast is beyond intriguing.
First up is Fernando Botero born in Medellin Colombia in 1932. He is a Figurative artist and sculpture who is known for creating an artistic style with very bloated and over-sized depictions of people, animals and objects found in the natural environment known as “Boterismo”.(1) He first exhibited his work at the age of 16 years old. Through his early years as an artist he was inspired by pre-Colombian and Spanish colonial art and the very political paintings of Mexican artist Diego Rivera. In the 1950’s he studied painting in Madrid. When Botero became Internationally recognized he moved to Paris in 1973 to study sculpting. The early 2000’s brought a change of vision for Botero who began painting images and scenes containing violence and the horrific acts of the Colombian drug cartel. In 2005 he released a series of paintings called “Abu Ghraib” which depicted the horrible treatment of prisoners by the American Military during the Iraq War.
Botero uses colors that are bold and flat. I am so curious as to why Botero paints and sculpts such bloated figures? He even includes self-images in his paintings as a bloated figure. With the “Mona Lisa” is he poking fun at the works and artists of the past? I could almost be offended at how he depicts women so large and bloated almost as if they could float off into the sky and disappear! The “Abu Ghraib” series is dark, graphic and violent. We will never realize the extent of the atrocities that took place behind this prison’s walls but the blood, cuts, bruises, the rope cutting into the man’s ankle and the vicious teeth of the dogs enlightens us. There were many paintings that I could have displayed from this series for this exhibit but, they were so graphic. The face of the blindfolded man who seems to be crying blood is painted with such anguish. Who knows how this man was abused but, I don’t really want to know.
Fernando Chamarelli is another talented Latin American artist who lives and works in Bauru, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has a degree in graphic design and illustration and originally began by drawing cartoons, realistic portraits and caricatures. As he observed the multi-cultural aspects of Brazil where he was born and raised his art took a turn expanding into street and tattoo art. There is a lot of geometric shapes and bold coloring to his work that also includes softer pastels. His work has been exhibited all over the world including Latin America, the United States, Canada and Europe. He paints with acrylics on canvas and his paintings tell capture “mosaic, geometric elements, organic forms, and harmonic lines. His visual imagery connects symbols, legends, philosophies, religions, and customs of ancient and modern civilizations.”(2) Here is what he had to say about his painting “Flauta de Paxiuba” displayed below, “Flauta de Paxiúba” is based on a legend. Fernando, who resides in Brazil, translated the story for us saying, “The legend is about a boy Indian named Milomaqui, who lived in the tribe Kamaiurá. He sang so beautifully that all in the village stopped working to listen to his songs. When the cacique knew what was happening, he was furious. He ordered the arrest of the little Indian and forbade him from singing. If he disobeyed, the cacique would order, “Take out his shadow”. Later Milomaqui was released, and soon after his release the young Indian escaped to the forest. He found a beautiful girl there and sang to her, and without explaining anything to the Indian girl he slept. Milomaqui was eventually captured by the cacique who served the promise to take out his shadow and buried it in a place with soft earth where there rose a slender tree, the paxiúba. With this tree the Indians make the flutes that only may sound to men: they say that the songs of Milomaqui survives within them.” (3)
Both Latin artists are very talented in their own way. Each artist tells a story in their own way. This is one of the amazing aspects of artists and their art they tell stories beautiful and horrific that we may have never known if it weren’t for their paintings. The ancient stories depicted in Chamarelli’s art may have been lost to the youth of Brazil if it weren’t for his talented depictions of the tales.
(1) “Fernando Botero.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Botero
“Fernando Botero.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2015. http://www.biography.com/people/fernando-botero-241190
(3) “Fernando Chamarelli — Daily Art Fixx – a Little Art, Every Day.” Daily Art Fixx – a Little Art, Every Day — Visual Arts Blog, Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Illustration and More!. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2015. http://www.dailyartfixx.com/tag/fernando-chamarelli/