Dibujando América. Raimond Chaves & Gilda Mantilla
Drawing America. Notes on a 100-day journey between Caracas and Lima.
May – September 2005. Venezuela-Colombia-Ecuador-Peru
These sketches form part of a research which links the act of drawing with a reflection on a specific territory, time, travelling and construction and use of images.
As we are now ready to unfold the maps, it is worth noting the singular area which arose from overlapping two territories: the one that exists and the one we have invented and built up as we made our sketches.
In certain places of Latin America they refer to the letter “y” as the letter “ye”. Above all in rural areas the “ye” describes a crossroads or junction. The song called El Guayabo de la Ye, sung by the Colombian Lisandro Meza, refers to this particular case.
This group of sketches, made prior to, during and following the journey, is in their own way a certain Ye.
Fresh ice cream made in a pan in Sandoná
In the village park, on Sundays, several stalls make ice cream to order.
The ice cream man, using a large spoon, with one hand slowly adds the liquid mixture, while keeping the pan in constant movement with the other hand.
The pan spins and spins over blocks of ice which are held together by a blanket. While the pan moves, the mixture begins to solidify and the ice cream man using the large spoon builds up a small pile of ice cream.
The secret of all this is in the ice and it is great fun to witness the freezing process in movement.
What do the sketches talk about, what do they refer to…
In general, they describe the Gulf of Maracaibo, the buildings which promised some future, the street peddlers in Caracas, Ivan Cepeda lifting a portrait of his slain father, the Pan American Highway between Máncora and Trujillo, the sadness for the end of the carnival.
They describe the time which does not pass, the river which becomes invisible due to the effect of the smoke from forest fires. They describe the fact that in all the countries, which we passed through there, was a place, (village, neighbourhood, path, shelter or meeting place) called “El Placer”…
Decomposition of the landscape
As you leave the Distrito Capital to climb towards the mountain range, and from there to travel down towards Los Llanos, the bus driver, as a way to prevent passengers feeling the effects of the curves, the steep slopes and travel sickness, announces: “Keep your eyes on the landscape and make sure it does not decompose”.
Raimond Chaves and Gilda Mantilla
Itinerary: Caracas, Choroni, Maracaibo, Riohacha, Santa Marta, Tayrona, Bucaramanga, El Socorro, Barichara, Bogota, Cali, Pasto, La Florida, Sandona, La Cocha, Ipiales, Tulcan, Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Macas, Miazal, Huaquillas, Aguas Verdes, Tumbes, Mancora, Trujillo, Lima.
Equipment: notebooks, sketchbooks, pens, markers, ballpens, digital photocamera, audiocassette recorder, scanner, laptop.
Activities: Drawing Caracas Workshop for kids and teenagers of Pinto Salinas neighbourhood. Done with the support of Sala Mendoza and the neighbours. June 11th 2005, Caracas, Venezuela.
El Ávila es la cosa-Caracas Time Map —collective drawing action—, and El Toque Criollo talk, both at independent space Oficina#1. June 14th 2005, Caracas, Venezuela.
… del otro mundo! Group exhibition curated by Fernando Escobar, at Convenio Andres Bello and Museo de Arte de la Universidad Nacional between July and September 2006, Bogota, Colombia.
El Toque Criollo talk at artists run space Lugar a Dudas. August 4th 2005, Cali, Colombia.
El Toque Criollo talk at independent cultural center El Aleph. August 6th 2005, Pasto, Colombia.