Bogotá Highlights: Galería African Diaspora Opens to Showcases Afro-Colombian and African artists

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My first introduction to Black culture in Colombia, having arrived fresh off the plane in Bogota, was a visit downtown for the opening of Galería African Diaspora… The irony of the gallery name and my mission to connect African-diaspora stories, didn’t go unnoticed!

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Galeria African Diaspora
with curator Wilfrid Massamba from Congo Brazzaville and Journalist Edna Liliana Valencia Murillo
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 Artist Wilson Borja being interviewed

Galeria African Diaspora launched on Saturday 9th March with the exhibition “4 syncrétic” by Afro-Colombian artist Wilson Borja. His work showcased explores the space of transition and experimentation in which the abstract and the figurative dialogue with each other.

Particularly for this exhibition, I started working with pattern, ‘the nine patch pattern’ which is used in quilt constructions. So during my research I started comparing African pre-hispanic and European cartographies. Part of the inspiration comes from there. I also put on top some representation methods… like drawing methodologies and created a mix. That’s part of what is going on here right now.

For the black textiles (pictured above), I’ve always been interested in how materials are infused with history. So what I used for those pieces are hyper-chloride – basically I’m bleaching out black fabrics (the one for the picture). I’m addressing ‘whitening’ in history.” Wilson Borja shared with me.

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Standing between two of my favourite pieces from the exhibition

This got me thinking about the political, historical and and social relevance of his work in today’s contemporary setting.

I was curious about black representation in Colombia, and posed the question to the artist. “Most of the time (black representation) is tied to music and dance. Which is, you know, normal for most people to understand black culture. It’s the space ‘they’ have given us. But we are much more than that. That is something that I’m exploring right now with my work. Talking some more about the origins, the roots, the routes, the contribution we’ve (black people) made to the construction of this continent.” – Wilson Borja

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Diaspora connections: Ghana/UK and Colombia
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Edna Liliana at work

France24 Espanhol captured the event in Africa 7 Days hosted by my friend, Afro-Colombian journalist Edna Liliana Valencia Murillo (jump through to check out my interview => 6.02)

All photos ©Fotos Yeison Yvk. Check out Galería African Diaspora Facebook page for more pictures!

Galería African Diaspora – Carrera 5 # 26B – 54, 110311 Bogotá, Colombia

Got any plans to visit Colombia? Let me know in the comment box below any questions or suggestions I can share insight on!

Thanks for being part of my journey! Sending positive vibes!

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