Issue - April 2010

April 2010


In this edition, Emma Pedersen puts down on paper her interview with the artist Alejandra Dorado; Husein Meghji gives an insight to his meeting with the past at the Museo Arqueológico; Ed young tells us about the history of aviation in Cochabamba; Paola Garcia Ovando invites us to visit the exhibition of the last two centuries Bolivian sculptors at the Cultural Center Simón I. Patiño ; and ultimately Walter Sánchez lets us know about the traditions and history revolving trees in more...

April 2010

Contemporary, baroque, art!

These are the three words the multi-artist Alejandra Dorado used to describe her work when I met her for an interview in her studio. Provoking, painting with blood and always experimenting with different styles, such as video art and live street performances. Alejandra is one of those people, who is always searching for something new. Besides her artistic vocation, she is also working as a teacher and a mentor for disabled and troubled young people in the project “Caja Verde”.

Emma Pedersen
Projects Abroad
Kolding - Denmark

Cocha-banner: What inspires you?

Alejandra Dorado: I think about a lot of women’s issues, gender. I look at my life, and my friends’ lives. And then I read a lot of philosophy, to have the theory that makes it stronger. But it is mostly things from my own life and the society.

CB: How do you feel when you paint or work in general?

AD: When I work, I feel like I’m having a love affair with my work. Creating is the best part, the other part, when I have to show my work to people, I don’t like so much. But I really like to show my work to people who have never been to an art gallery or a museum, because they are completely clean.

CB: So what are the main objectives of your work? What do you want to say with your work?

AD: I want to yell. I want to protest. I want to reach people who never saw. That is why I make very strong things.

CB: It is said that you paint mainly for women. Who do you consider as your main target group? Is it women or is it everybody?

AD: Everybody! Maybe I think that my art is mostly for men. Because men can see that maybe they are wrong in society. And maybe they don’t like that. Maybe it’s because I want them to see something.

CB: So what do you want men to see with your art?

AD: I think that with my art, they can see themselves and the same for women. I made for example “Oh! Dolorosa pequeña niña” which is a via crusis of Jesus in the street. I put myself as a suffering woman. And if you look at it, you can see that you are suffering too.

CB: Now that we are talking about Jesus; in your work, you have used a lot of different symbols. What do they mean to you? And why do you use them?

AD: In contemporary art, contemporary baroque, there are a lot of religious symbols. And here in Latin America, you know, we have a lot of them in our life in general. I use them because they are very simple things to people. They are easy to know and easy to relate to. I also put my body instead of Jesus Christ, to make a transgression, and with this transgression I’m trying to provoke, to make you see something different. Because when you see something pretty, maybe you can say “Oh that’s pretty. The painter is good.” But I am not interested in pretty things.

CB: I have here one of your paintings. Could you try to explain what this painting is about?

AD: I tried to use a very simple, stereotypical woman, like a typical female that waits for her husband. I used a picture of that type of photo soap opera, and I painted it with oil. And then I painted the other woman with blood, real blood. So that is two kinds of material that are very different. Because blood is organic, and it change everyday, colour and everything.

CB: What type of blood do you use? Animal or..?

“I want to yell. I want to protest. I want reach people who never saw.”

AD: Mine. I use my own and my partner’s blood. I go to a blood bank and then they put some anticoagulants in it, so it stays fluid.

CB: So in the painting you have the stereotypic woman and then the woman who is tied up. What do you want to say with this?

AD: It is like the same, no? If you are like the stereotype, inside you are tied up.

CB: Now I want to talk a little about Bolivian art in general. What are the characteristics of Bolivian art?

AD: I think that in Bolivia we have two kinds of art that are very separated. One is folkloric, typical art. These artists paint landscapes or little towns, very typical. In contemporary art we are very, very separated from these people. We are few, very few and I think we have a lot of characteristics of the country, but I think mostly of Latin America. I studied in Chile, so I think I have a lot of that kind of contemporary art. And in Chile they have a lot of influence from Europe. Basically, I think that art all over Latin America is almost the same.

CB: So would you say that your art is verytypical of Bolivia or would you say it ismore international?

AD: I think that in concept, it’s very similar to European art. But visually I use a lot of symbols that you can see in my country. And you can see I like to use images that are very strong and colourful, full of things and symbols.

CB: How is the current market for art in Bolivia? Is it possible for an artist to make a living only by selling paintings?

AD: No, never. I can’t live as an artist alone.

CB: Why do you think that you can’t live only as an artist?

“I painted the other woman with blood, real blood.”

AD: Because here in Bolivia there are very few people who buy art that is not for decorating their house. They go to the bridges where they can buy some kind of art, like flowers. It is more difficult to sell contemporary art. I have friends that maybe sell some of their art, maybe abstract art, or a little decorative. But my art is not decorative. And there are very few art collectors. So I have to do a lot of different things. I teach classes and I have my photo studio and I have the project “Caja Verde” where I work with blind people.

CB: “Caja Verde” showed us that even blind people can paint and draw. Does this mean that everybody can do it?

AD: Yes. Maybe before I had this experience with “Caja Verde” I didn’t think like that but now I think so.

CB: So what do you need to be a painter or an artist?

AD: I think the only thing you need to be a painter or an artist, is to open another part of your vision or your experience. Because maybe it is already inside of you, but you don’t know. It’s like you have to experiment and make the things and then you can say “Yes, I can” or “No, I can’t. It’s not for me maybe I can sing.”

Bridging The Gap Between
Past and Present

The drab exterior of the Museo Arqueológico – housed in an old bank - betrays nothing of the dynamic, multi-faceted educational programme that it operates within. Yet primary and secondary schools and kindergartens in and outside of Cochabamba flock to its doors to take part in the so-called programa interactivo, whose aim is to allow young people to discover the history and culture of the past of their country; treasures more valuable that the monetary wealth once guarded under lock and key in the safe which can still be found down a back corridor of the building.

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