Issue - December 2007

December 2007

In this month's issue Arnold Brauwer tells us about Ariel's Garden. Amy Stillman and Save the Children's new CD. Walter Sanchéz enlightens us with a history on Religious Popular Art andfinally Emanuele Norsa returns with an article on Elio Nina's more...

December 2007

Elio Nina´s and the Colours of Cochabamba

Emanuel Norsa discovers the work and philosophy of Cochabamba painter Elio Nina Espinoza.

by: Emanuele Norsa
Milano Italyu

The social and historic problems of Bolivia are the topics that really leave a trace in the work of this painter”. With these words, Elio Nina Espinoza´s biographer Nestor Taboada Teran begins his dissection of one of Cochabamba´s most interesting painters, from a city noted for its contribution to art.

Born in 1952, Elio Nina Espinoza was a student at the Raul G. Prada Escuela Superior de Artes Plásticas, and later at the architecture department of San Simón University. Today, his work has gained him entry into the Associación Boliviana de Artistas Plasticos, and his work has been exhibited not only across Bolivia, but also as far away as Austria, Italy, Holland and Germany.

Always a fan of the surrealist movement – being a fan of the master, Salvador Dalì, but also of Max Ernst and Giorgio De Chirico – Elio´s work reflects a classical surrealist style while examining many of the typical social issues found in Bolivia. “My art shows the reality of social problems in Bolivia - for example in recent months I drew a lot of images that represent the catastrophe of the fighting that affected the Beni region from the beginning of this year,” Elio says of his creations. “What´s important is that the artist doesn´t forget his audience has to be able to make some connection with what he sees, and create his own reflections or conclusions.”

The most common themes that can be found in Elio´s paintings reflect what he sees as the crucible of Bolivian life: powerful bulls, Bolivian women in traditional dress, and for metaphorical measure, walls. In using these images, Elio tries to represent a meeting of the animal and human worlds in all their complexity, a meeting which is always, according to the artist, feminine. The connection with the Bolivian world and culture is central to Elio’s work, the reason he always chooses to represent Bolivian women in traditional dress, as idols of his country.

Elio also recently began working in sculpture, after a hiatus of several years. “In 2003 and 2004 I had the great opportunity to travel to Italy to visit, finally, some of the greatest museums in the world. I was impressed by the work of Michelangelo and coming back to Bolivia, it inspired me to take up sculpture, something that I had not done since my school studies,” muses Elio. “My sculptures attempt to represent the feminine figure, with the same feeling of ´incompleteness´ of some of Michelangelo’s works.”

Elio still lives in Cochabamba, and is easily found in the Galeria Walter Terrazas; if you happen to fall upon the artist there, let him fascinate you with his surrealist vision of life and connection between society and art.

Mano a mano Bolivia
Mano a Mano Bolivia is an organization that aims to alleviate and promote health, education and social development in the impoverished areas by building schools, health centres, roads, runways and distributing medical supplies. At present this organization has built 79 health centres, 30 educative infrastructures (schools buildings, bathrooms and teacher housing) and several roads and air strips...
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