Made in China

“Thirst” is my appropriation of a Mola, the unique craft made by the Guna women from Colombia and Panamá. It is the first piece of the series “Made in China” and it tells a story about the indigenous communities suffering because of lack of water. In Colombian Guajira, the Wayuu children die every day of thirst and malnourishment, while civilized people focus on attaining stuff. Indigenous communities from around the globe take care of the planet better than modern individuals, but their human rights are violated too frequently. 

Made in China is an ongoing project of handmade molas depicting common consumer goods usually mass produced in China.
"Thirst"

"Sneakers"



Hamburger World

Employee of the Month is a series portraying photos of employees of a diner called "Hamburger World", which is the typical food place to eat for the common people in the U.S. The employees I chose are immigrants from different places of the world, and I painted them with the traditional outfit of the culture they belong to. The aim of my wok is to question the viewer about who is serving us, who is working out there and living beside us. I want to bring conscience to the people of capitalistic countries; we need to start appreciating the cultural background of everyone, not only by going to a museum or by eating their food; by embracing the differences of others and making them feel proud of who they are. It is sad for me that a lot of cultures and traditions are lost when people are displaced either by wars or to find better opportunities, immigrants need to leave their culture aside and convert to the new culture in order to belong and to adapt, and in that process a cultural treasure is lost.

To me living in the U.S has open a new point of view about cultural diversity. I have come to the conclusion that in the academic world diversity is well apreciated while in reality people fight everyday to have uniformed social circles and lives. In theory it is awesome to be able to live in the same city with people from all over the world but, where are they? how come we don't see them unless their racial features are different? The common assumption is that everyone should be equal, speak English, have similar fashion trends and behave in a certain way in public places. Beyond that, no one cares who you are or where you come from, they don't care to know about your culture or customs. We live in a country in which the majority of the population is composed of foreigners or come from an immigrant family, but this is not evident to the eye as everyone is trying to adapt and belong. A lot of immigrants want to belong so much that they rather hide or dismiss their roots, than to validate themselves as who they are and endure difficult social encounters. As an Art teacher of a Middle School I have seen tons of hispanic children denying they speak Spanish in front of their peers just because they feel they are going to be rejected if they do. I have observed this behavior in adults as well,  I have spoken in Spanish to people I know speak Spanish because of their accents and they get angry and respond in English, is as if once they learn to speak English they want to prove it to the world. I don't blame them, I have not lived what they have; I blame this type of society who doesn't admire social differences unless it is for their amusement or profit.





American Dream Catchers

American Dream Catcher VI

American Dream Catcher V

American Dream Catcher IV


The U.S. culture for objective outsiders is basically major advertisement, media and warfare. We know the United States because it has been and it is the American Dream to lots of people around the world, but once you are here you realize that "The American Dream" is gone long ago, and what remains is just the echo of media that never stops promoting how great Americans are. These series called "American Dream Catchers" talks about the failure of the american dream and how the original culture of this country, the Native American Culture was ruined and abolished by those that are recognize from abroad as Americans.
American Dream Catcher III

American Dream Catcher I

American Dream Catcher II

The following pieces were done before starting with this series, but the concept I worked there is related to consumerism and industrialization in the U.S, which is very pertinent to what I am trying to talk about in the "American Dream Catchers" pieces.

These are Our Planes
U.S Totem Pole


Tapetes Voladores

Flying Carpets

This series of rugs questions the encounter between tradition and industrialization, between nature and chemistry. Flying Carpets are part of old legends but even though these legends are fiction, in the present could be closer to become real. In the past no one could ever believe it was possible to fly over a carpet, today it would be easier to make a flying rug and people would not be that amazed.

Today there are a lot of ways to travel, including hallucinogens such as LSD, which people commonly call "Trips", or refers to the experience as "to travel in acids". But isn't it better to travel to marvelous places even if it takes more time? With the arriving of each new technology something that was part of our history is disposed. Every day life is more centered in the immediateness of things and how to make everything easier, and faster. These rugs were hand woven with a latch hook, to reinstate the importance of tradition and a slow process, each one represents an LSD sheet which always comes divided in grids over and illustration that alludes to the name of the "Trip" or acid.

The original title in Spanish of each rug is a word game between "Acido" which means (Acid) and "Has ido" or "Has sido" which both mean (Have you been).

¿Acido Astronauta?
"Have You Taken an Astronaut Trip?"
¿Acido al Jardín Botánico?
"Have You Taken a Botanic Garden Trip?"

¿Acido astronauta?
"Have You Taken an Astronaut Trip?"

¿Acido a la Playa?
"Have You Taken a Beach Trip?"

¿Acido a la Playa?
"Have You Taken a Beach Trip?"


Patrioskas

The Patrioskas should be the most known Colombian Craft for exportation. These are appropriations of Russian Matrioshkas (nesting dolls that fit one inside the other), but bullet shaped and painted like our most known politicians; some known by their violent behaviors, some as murderers or drug patrons, and others known as martyrs killed fighting for freedom, or for the truth that they believed in. The legitimate Patrioskas should be shaped in lathe by a prisoner of one of our high security jails. These series were shaped by a prisoner known as "Rojas the Colombia Lathe Shaper", Colombia being the patio were he was confined at "Casa Blanca", prison located at Villavicencio, Colombia.
Simón Bolivar
Rafael Núñez
Rafael Uribe Uribe
Manuel Quintín Lame
Alfonso López Pumarejo
Jorge Eliecer Gaitán
Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
Luis Carlos Galán
Pablo Escobar Gaviria
Alias: El Patrón
Álvaro Uribe Vélez
Manuel Marulanda Vélez
Alias: Tiro Fijo



























































Balas Perdidas - Lost Bullets
As with most of goods, there are bootlegs and legitimate ones; this series called "Lost Bullets" is considered a bootleg of Patrioskas, as it was not shaped by a prisoner but by an artisan called Luis Rodríguez based in Ráquira, Colombia. The characters depicted in these series are related to Colombian politics as well, but somehow have a weird story: actors in politics, clowns in politics, literally being lost for years because of being kidnapped, mercenaries, or sneaking into foreign foreign governments to be found every where as Waldo or Wally, wait, both are the same person.
Ernesto Samper
Carlos Castaño
Ingrid Betancourt



















George Bush as:
"Where is Waldo"

Bruno Díaz as:
"Fercho Durango"

Antanas Mockus


















Bombas - Bombs
Bomb were made as a bootleg Patrioska too. The ceramic work was made by Luis Rodríguez and the political characters I depicted were chosen simply for their known fatness, besides fitting the profile of bombs. The Rodríguez - Orejuela brothers were known drug lords during the 80's and early 90's until they were captured. Fat Fabiola is a stand-up comedian who got into politics, only an example of embarrassing elections that my fellow citizens make. And Álvaro García Romero, was the first "parapolitico" to be captured, these are white collar thugs who uses the government money to finance paramilitary groups. 






Vestidos para matar - Dressed to Kill
The characters in the set "Dressed to Kill" are generic types of thugs more than known real life persons. This is the last of the sets I made for bootleg Patrioskas. I wanted to depict the different types of thugs that are commonly known, choosing their size by hierarchy of power among society, or representing how big of a threat they are with their size. From small to big: Street Robber, Femme Fatale, Hitman, Serial Killer, Druglord and White Collar.



SaveSave

Salud, Dinero y Amor

This series is called "Salud, dinero y amor" which means Health, Money and Love. In Colombia this is what people toast for and it is as well a common saying when someone sneezes three time. People pray to different gods around the world, others have idols and follow them as if they were gods. As stated before my art questions globalization and consumerism and how these have impregnated all traditions of every culture leaving us with mixed up images and mixed up origins. I have no intention to offend those whose cultures, traditions or believes are depicted, I am only showing with a critical eye what a globalized world has done already to our roots and traditions.

Purga, 2007


Zanganesh, 2007
Pinoshiva, 2007

Pre-Hispanic Advertisement

These series are called "Pre-Hispanic Advertisement". I have always been interested in cultural identities and in traditions, and how these are affected by globalization. We see all the time how people wear t-shirts with foreign language signs they don't even understand, the crafts of a country suddenly become of a different one when foreigners buy them assuming they just belong. Even people of different countries that share the same language, or only share similar ethnic features are identified by ignorant eyes as compatriots ("the Mexicans" "the Chinese"). 

Nike Fair, 2004


El Ego, 2004

Cotton USA, 2004
El Ego, 2010

The last painting was done by commission. A friend of mine bought the first "El Ego" piece and her boyfriend who happens to be Spaniard loved it and wanted to have one as well. I made this one specially for him, having in mind that the Spaniards conquered America, and me being from Colombia learned in history class that the conquerors amazed the natives with mirrors and traded them for gold. 





La Maquilladora Profesional

The Professional Make-up Artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

The identity is what ever makes a person definable not only by themselves but by others. It is difficult to know exactly how does people recognize us despite how defined we think we have our personality. Gender, sex orientation, profession, ethnic group or fashion trends we wear are just some of the characteristics that people use to recognize us as a particular individual.  Identities are often misplaced by our judgmental society, for this reason with this series I play not only with my identity but with other's, I become a professional make-up artist to turn international famous soccer players, some actors and models into women.