From the beginning, man has always sought to understand the world around him, to tame the landscapes in his favor, to use nature to convey a message. In this process of appropriation, art, from its most primitive forms, plays a major role. To be convinced, it is enough to contemplate the tens of thousands of cave paintings that adorn the caves of Chiribiquete, a national park located in the Colombian departments of Caquetá and Guaviare. Some twenty thousand years ago, the men who lived in this region wanted to mark their passage through the rock, a kind of testimony destined for future generations.
This desire to use and place nature at the center of the artistic composition has been perpetuated over time until it reached its most successful symbolic expression: landscaping. In the context of Colombia, the works painted according to a landscape approach aimed above all to magnify Colombian nature, the symbol par excellence of national identity, a source of extreme pride for any Colombian citizen. Such feelings are found in the works of Alejandro Obregon and Noé León, the main representatives of Colombian landscape painting.
In this work entitled "Dawn over the Andes", which decorates the corridors on the first floor of the United Nations headquarters in New York, Obregon wanted to translate all the magnificence of the Andean flora and fauna; we see several vultures of the Andes, through the use of warm colors, particularly orange and yellow, which literally illuminate the composition. If Obregon's desire to exalt the pride of being Colombian, through the magnified representation of his landscapes, is beyond doubt, it would not be possible to consider his work as the culmination of landscape painting, even though it is an important step. The non-representation of a harmonious relationship between man and nature largely explains this analysis. In other words, he would have opened the way to other initiatives, to other artists, to the same ones who, through their landscape compositions, were going to try to reconcile these two entities. It took three decades between the completion of Amanecer en los Andes and the completion of the vertical garden project in the Santalia Building in Bogotá, the largest urban landscape garden in the world. This project alone aims to reconcile man and nature.
Managed entirely by the Colombian companies Exacta Proyecto Total and Groncol, with the collaboration of the Spanish company Paisajismo Urbano, it demonstrates Colombia's capacity to innovate in the field of eco-responsible buildings and to make it’s capital an example in this area. A true technological and ecological feat, the entire building is covered with 84,000 plants, in an area of 3,117 m2, making this project the largest vertical garden in the world. The concrete structure of the building serves as a hook for the plants and vegetables, even though its construction must have involved the destruction of thousands of plants. A new benevolence that nature rewards as the whole garden produces oxygen for 3000 people and filters 2000 tons of Co2 and other greenhouse gases as well as 400 kg of dust produced by pollution.
Although this artificial garden, designed and installed by man, is nevertheless a feat of nature which agreed to put its virtues at the service of the latter because it proved itself worthy of him. The fact that this new relationship has emerged in a city at the crossroads of environmental issues shows that change is possible and that a new era is opening. It now remains to perpetuate and follow this virtuous example.