Every week during the last week of October, the Art Community of Bogota comes together to host a week of ferias and cultural events.
With ferias like Barcu, an arts and culture festival, the emergence of other contemporary art festivals in local favorite Espacio Odeon, and the continued buzz around ArtBo (Bogota’s version of Art Basel, sponsored by the government), Bogota has grown to become LATAM’s hub for contemporary art, attracting galleries and art lovers from around the globe to Colombia’s capital for a week of culture and art.
ArtBo, being the more classic and formal of the ferias, is hosted every year in Corferias, feeling much more like a convention. Contemporary art galleries, from Colombia and beyond, showcase the best of their pieces for art dealers and lovers to view and buy.
The fastest growing of the ferias, Barcu, takes the concept of ArtBo and elevates it a notch: blending Colombian culture, emerging art, and cultural events. The feria is comprised of nine historic homes throughout La Candelaria (Bogota’s historic district) and transform them into a walking tour of art, cinema, and panel discussions. With a more grassroots vibe, Barcu invites not only the Art Elite to play, but young art lovers interested in experiencing a dose of nightly music and partying, live graffiting, and local food.
With the recent alleviation of political pressures, Colombia (and in particular, Bogota) has begun to open its doors to foreign investment, influence and culture. In response to this, Bogota’s cultural community has found a great sense of support from both local and foreign tastemakers, creating a platform where local artists are eager to show their work to a larger audience. Movements like this have gained strength in solidarity, through events like ArtBo and Barcu. This growth has earned international spotlight with galleries from around the world, sharing work of Colombian artists, as well as international galleries coming to share their pieces with art collecting Colombians.
Other smaller festivals have begun to emerge in the city this week, all lending a similar concept, but without competing with each other, like local gallery and cultural center Espacio Odeon and Festival ArtTec. These spaces support young and local talent, as well as movements in a way that Colombia has not yet seen, making way for a generation rich in culture and art.
I was able to attend both Opening Night of Barcu and Odeon, and previewed the galleries pieces. A generous mix of both contemporary classics (Miro, Picasso, and Dali), Latin American favorites (Negret, Rayo, Soto, and Velez) and young emerging artists, there was something new to see in each piece. Many of the LATAM artists touch on themes like socio-political issues of their home countries, others examine the new, milllenial culture birthed from post-internet era and mass consumption. Others simply are changing the way we conceptualize art by showing us innovative new forms of art.
If you’re in Bogota, I highly recommend stopping by for an afternoon of arts and culture at any of the ferias happening in town!
Below are some of my favorites! Particularly a piece in La Factoria House at Barcu, by one emerging artist: Pablo Ricaurte Llorente.