Repúblicas (Republics) series of 100+ installations at Simón Bolivar’s House-Museum. Bronze paint, organic matter and coins.

Just like Pasolini’s Gospel According to St. Matthew appears to be a film about The Old Testament, this large series of small outdoors installations appear to be a reference to The Republic of Colombia. This work, however, is rather a symbolic materialization of a beautiful dream, a collective aspiration, that is also a forgotten ideal. When I conceived this piece, I didn’t want to pay for a museum ticket to see my own country’s historical patrimony so I went to the front door and stand by the entrance where I found a fallen leave in the ground. I brought it to the studio, and later on I painted it with bronze paint. That became a future project for the city’s cultural institution that administered the museum. When I got financial support from them I also got free entrance to Simon Bolivar’s gardens and home. At that time I didn’t know why, but I was about to do something that felt really urgent to me: to picture the myth of an idealized version of the country I was born and to do it despite of the failures of the colonial institution of capital that founded it. I was about to materialize the dream I was told about at school and to fantasize about it. At some point after the show opened, kids leaving in poverty and visiting the show from local public schools were repetitively stealing the coins with the sole purpose of trowing them into the garden’s pond. The coins were symbolically equivalent and even much less valuable than US cents so they wouldn’t use them for anything but to say a wish to the pond. And in doing so it seemed they were dreaming about their lives as well. They played around the gardens finding what they called “treasures”. In doing so, the myth of the nation appeared reachable, the founder of the Republic appeared familiar and generous, the military glories of the political figure were almost joyful for us, the power and their symbols relatable, accessible and playful. Some of my colleagues insisted that the power of the work relied on the decay of the piece (as it was exposed to the elements and faded quickly and had to be constantly remade––just as a metaphor of our country in permanent conflict). But, in my opinion, the piece was powerful and beautiful just because it represented the dream rather than the Republic. And we were truly feeling part of that dream, if only for a moment.