Posts Tagged ‘Art’


Venezuela’s plains region is home to the capybara (in Spanish, chigüire), which is the world’s largest rodent. These herbivores can weigh up to 100 pounds and live most of their lives in water. When they are born, they actually swim better than they walk, according to a zookeeper in Parque del Este in Caracas.

Sadly, chigüires are sometimes hunted and eaten for Easter dinner despite the fact that, during Lent, there is a religious prohibition against eating meat. During the time of colonization, the native chigüire was misrepresented to the Catholic church by the Spanish conquistadors, who wrote to the church officials for permission to eat the animal, which was unknown in Europe. The Spaniards said that chigüis lived in the water and resembled fish, conveniently leaving the hair and four feet out of the description.

By and large, chigüires are friends, not food, and people in the llanos keep them as pets. Recently,  the chigüire has become a subject for popular art, and can be found on t-shirts and logos everywhere in Venezuela.

Spanish-speakers will enjoy a popular sytirical news blog in Venezuela known as El Chigüire Bipolar.


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Intercultural education will soon become a reality in Venezuela, if Professor Angela Diaz has anything to do with it.

She spoke at at a public event today in Washington sponsored by TransAfrica Forum. Diaz has been making her way around the U.S. capital,  speaking at Howard University and meeting Members of Congress to discuss the Afro-Venezuelan experience.

Diaz is a member of the Network of Afro-Venezuelan Organizations (La Red de Organizaciones Afrovenezolanas), has worked tirelessly over the past decade to help create a more inclusive education system. Like the U.S., Afro-descendants and Indigenous peoples in Venezuela have been too often distorted or omitted from public school curricula. Due to the work of people like Diaz, Venezuelan students will learn about all the ethnic groups that built the South American continent.

The new inclusive curriculum has been implemented in 17 states so far. Part of the process involves inviting community elders into the schools to teach.  In one school, grandparents taught students how to make a fish recipe, which is stuffed in a plantain leaf. Fish is a vital resource for residents along the Caribbean coast, many of whom identify as Afro-Venezuelan. Along with the recipe, the children learned about history, culture, art, and the environment. Sharing ancestral knowledge is the key to transmitting what has been left out of the history books.

Diaz emphasized that students are inspired when they can see themselves and their communities represented in their lessons. See more of Professor Diaz’s work with Fundación Curduvare.

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A while ago, we brought you Carlos Cruz Diez, Venezuela’s most colorific artist abroad.  Cruz Diez studied architecture and the science of color in Europe and later returned home to open the Studio for Visual Arts in Caracas. He is known for his technique of “color saturation” and inviting installation art.

Cruz Diez creates interactive, livable art, such as the floor tiles of Simón Bolívar Airport that serves Caracas (above). Countless visitors and locals have exchanged happy greetings and tearful goodbyes on Cruz Deiz’s airport art. The multicolored walkway is angled to give the viewer a sense of movement and speed, which is especially important in those hurried airport moments.

Today’s featured photo comes from the Flickr photostream of metropanas, which has tons of great images of Caracas architecture.

In the Spanish-language video below, Cruz Diez describes his “chromosaturation” exhibit, which recently showed at the Americas Society in New York.

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If you’re in the Miami area this Saturday, check out an exhibit by Nestor Paz called “Textures of the Soul” at the Edgar Ace Gallery. Above is one of his canvasses entitled El Venus en la cama (Venus in bed).

Paz is a native of Venezuela, and has been an artist since early childhood.  He studied painting and sculpture at the Conservatoria Cultural de Zulia and graduated from the Universidad Cecilio Acosta in the city of Maracaibo.

The exhibit is noted today in a Miami Herald blog.

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oliver-stone-chavezOliver Stone and crew have been hard at work on a documentary about the Venezuelan Revolution, starring President Chavez and “huge cast of characters.”  According to Stone, Chavez is a “world changer” full of “intoxicating” energy. The film will explore the progress he has inspired in Venezuela and the region.

Stone interviewed people throughout the United States and Latin America and says he has enough footage “for two documentaries.” The film is meant to “capture the spirit” of the social movements in Venezuela and will be released in a few months.

Check back here for more info when the film is released!

In the meantime, check out these great articles from Variety and the AP.

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Called “one of Latin America’s Kinetic Art masters,” Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz Diez, age 85, works with the eye’s perception of color. His current exhibit at the Americas Society in New York is his first major solo show in the U.S.

The installation “Chromosaturation” features 3 white-walled rooms saturated with colored lights. The colors appear to change and blend as the viewer walks through the rooms and participates in a “direct chromatic experience.”

“Cruz Diez is considered a pioneer in the use of color as a participatory tool as well as a visionary who pushed the boundaries of art towards everyday life,” according to the website of the Americas Society.

The exhibit runs until January 2009.

Click here to read an artist profile, find out the location of the gallery, and get links to videos and a panel discussion about the work of Cruz Diez.

Check out this article from the Los Angeles Times with great photos!

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Jaime Gili of Venezuela has been called “one of the hottest global artists”. Gili made headlines recently when he won the “Art All Around” contest in Portland, Maine. His design to enliven an industrial area was selected from 560 entries from 73 countries received by the Maine Center for Creativity.

Designing Maine’s public art project came easy for Jaime Gili, who grew up in Caracas, a city full of art, ranging from sculpture and murals to graffiti. Gili explained, “I grew up in Venezuela seeing lots of urban art and and public commissions being made mostly by artists who were active in the ’50s and ’60s, the ’70s. There’s a lot of optical art in this tradition.”

Gili now lives and works in London, where he is a featured artist at the Riflemaker Gallery. In an homage to art and architecture in Caracas, he created “Ruta Rota”, a dislpay of colorful geometric shapes on a 1970s edifice in London’s Cheapside. Recently, he created works of art inspired by the multi-colored stickers sported by the motorcycle taxi drivers of Caracas.

Jaime Gili has also done several projects to help create ties between artists and art groups in Europe and Latin America. To watch a video of the artist explaining his work and see images of the project in Maine, click here. Also, check out his website.

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