January 2009, Gloria Arboleda

January 2009, Gloria Arboleda
Gloria Arboleda


Gloria Arboleda is a Colombian artist with an interesting point of view of the complexity we live in the 21st century world. She combines her interest in politics and social issues with innovative techniques; themes related to drama, violence, kidnapping, drugs, environment and social suffering, many times presented undercover behind a seductive masquerade of intense colours and bright acrylics. The artist pushes the spectator to think. Her art catches us by surprise and we feel delight while contemplating these large format images when we suddenly discover that something more powerful lies beneath the combination of formal elements. All her art is digital work that becomes tangible when printed on the acrylics; these acrylics aren’t just the material component, but the medium that relates the entire work through the engravings, drawings, collages. The story she tells is not always a nice one, but the concepts of change and hope are always present in the work. 
Gloria worked with satellite photographs from Colombia’s geography and while travelling by plane over the Guaviare River she was inspired to do this work. She turned the outlines she could see in the photographs into the roads followed by the guerrilla in the centre of the deep Colombian forest. Pieces like I’m not like you, Swimming Prostitutes, Main Concern or Bureaucracy, perfectly represent those remote regions of the country, invaded by violence and no law whatsoever. One piece in particular, Tell me the truth, relates her concern about information and communication, something that is supposed to bring people together but which gets more complicated as we speak. This could easily be exemplified by her own words “…The loss of ego comes along with the disdain for language, from and to the speaker. This happens with victims of a kidnap that have no chance to establish linguistic relationships with the kidnappers because the main goal the aggressor wants to achieve is to make the victim lose every sense of confidence in his/her ideas”. She also criticises people’s lack of action, and physical response to violence. Pure Tropic 7, based on Peace after the storm (1896), by the German artist Ferdinand Schauss, represents a man’s body abandoned on a beach after a storm. She relates fruit and animals with human behaviours, using oranges instead of people and a hen to represent their passivity while facing facts. Acrylic works perfectly as a fragile soul which breaks like glass, once again analogically, before the overwhelming facts. 

But as I said, Gloria Arboleda´s work also seeks change and suggests hope as the ideal that should rule our lives. In Changing the history, she appeals to those issues that deeply interest our generation, issues related to problems left behind by the past generation that we are supposed to solve; “It is the pronouncement of a change of mind, at all levels. In a global level, an environmental level, an architectonic level, an ecological level and even an artistic level. The world realized that it needs a change; even if it is true that the 20th century has been the most productive century in human kind, this progress also left enormous complications for which the time has come to be solved”, says the artist. 

Gloria´s work witnesses the cruel reality of her country, but at the same time desperately claims the inevitable change she believes will "change the story” for good.


whitehot gallery images, click a thumbnail.

Maria Carolina Baulo

Maria Carolina Baulo, argentine, art writer, Master's Degree in History of Art, with studies in Cinematography, Photography and Theatre.

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