This week, we head to Bogotá and to the FLORA space for contemporary art, a place for artistic training and reflection created in 2013 by José Roca, the next stop on our Jaguar route.
Internationally recognized by many European and international institutions and supported by contemporary art foundations installed throughout Latin America, this structure seduces national and international artists by the comfort of work it offers to its residents.
One of them, the artist José Olano, agreed to trust the Jaguar Arte team and tell us about his experience. After seven years working in Cartagena, he felt the need, tired of the lack of perspective and the narrowness of the Caribbean art world, to face a new critical look and revitalize his artistic project.
Very quickly, applying for one of Flora's grants seemed obvious to him, and about three weeks ago he walked through the halls of the foundation and discovered community life, meals with other residents, and shared household chores.
Listening to José describe Flora's installations and working methods is to approach a unique model where economic contingency has disappeared, where the pressure of galleries and traditional artistic residences are too short, gives way to total freedom of exploration, creation, and training; Flora is, moreover, one of the few options for postgraduate training in Colombia, a characteristic that José emphasized.
As for the replanting of the premises and the installation of an experimental garden on the roof of the building, they would symbolize Flora's desire to consider nature as a space for reflection, awareness, and artistic experimentation, all within the framework of a fundamental principle: feedback.
Among the mandatory activities and seminars offered by Flora, there is one specially designed to understand the environment and raise awareness about the particular nature of the ecosystems visited: educational outings. The last one took place, a few weeks ago, in Choachi, a city located about forty kilometers west of Bogota, known for hosting the Chorrera, the highest waterfall in Colombia, with 590 m high.
What would be the impact of this immersion closer to ecosystems on artistic creation? José did not answer this question and indicated that, for the moment, he is investing all his energy in training and experimentation. Thus, he is particularly interested in the context of everyday objects and possible interactions.
If it is not possible to define precisely what Flora is, because of its unique model, it is possible, however, to say that it is not a simple artistic residence or a gallery, let alone a museum. Therefore, it seems to draw the best of each of these figures to fill in the gaps and offer artists a complete structure that allows them to fulfill themselves without material limits and explore, fully and serenely, the whole process of creation.