Amazon Aid is proud to have Blanca Botero both as an Artist Ambassador and a Board Member, bringing ideas, empathy and artistry to the foundation.
Since your works are so hugely political in terms of the environment and society, do you find the process draining, invigorating or both?
Yes, my works are political in terms of the environment and society — this comes from the fact that I believe that, today, an artist cannot work as an island. The world we live in is so connected, we receive so much information, that it is impossible not to react to that. The work of an artist makes her much involved in what happens around, in your county, in your continent, in your planet, and even beyond. Life and the processes at work are somehow the same thing. To live is sometimes draining, sometimes nurturing, it is a bit of both, and so is working as an artist.
As an artist with vastly different mediums and techniques, what is your process? Do you have certain issues you focus on first and the technique evolves from that? Or do you have a technique you are working on and since your themes are so prevalent they reveal themselves as the work progresses?
About my process: Very often, a final work is the result of long-lasting explorations and investigation that starts when I am not even aware of the fact that I am beginning something. The urgency that precipitates action comes from any kind of source: the news, a discovery, a trip, something that I read, a conversation, etc., that calls my attention and becomes something “urgent”.
There is a “foundation of relevant issues that matter” to me though. Those urgencies fall onto that foundation of relevant issues that matter, and start building from there. The fundamentals are the conceptual bases of the artist’s work, the substrate giving coherence to a body or work, giving a sense of unity to the whole, but as I see it, they do not mandate me to use a particular media to produce something.
In fact, my studio is a place of experimentation, a place where connections happen, where all kinds of materials are allowed in, and techniques can be explored. The “soul” of the project mandates the media. Sometimes, the media comes from happy accidents that occur in the exploratory process.
It seems like there is a huge pivot from being a corporate and financial attorney to an artist, what inspired that transition? How did that happen? How does that past profession influence your current work?
I feel I did never pivot from being a lawyer to being an artist. I feel me as a whole, a unity of artist-lawyer-mother-wife-political person-gardener-woman- Colombian-swiss-daughter-sister-citizen, etc. All my roles are tangled protagonists, and they are also working tools. I am grateful for that, even when the source is a crisis. We as a species are in permanent crisis: environmental, social, political, economic, migratory, and more. Crises are food for the arts, as they always have been.
As artists what can we do to help protect the Amazon?
What can an artist do to protect the Amazonas region? What can I do? Even though I don’t believe that artists should necessarily be considered activists, I know that art can be an effective means to generate global awareness of any problem. Good examples are Amazon Aid’s beautiful River of Gold documentary and its Anthem for the Amazonas, as well as the works of Brazilian artists like Celdo Braga, Roberto Evangelista, or the Colombians Abel Rodriguez, Eliana Muchavisoy, David Jamioy, Wilson Rodriguez, Hernan Gomez, among many others.
The world we live in is so connected, that actions damaging the Amazonas region can take place within the region itself or everywhere else in the planet. I live in Bogotá, which is located up in the Andes mountains, far away from the Amazonas, but from here I can do as much as you can do in Charlottesville: this is to be a better consumer of the Planet’s resources. Deforestation and contamination are devastating the Amazonas, but those are not its only threats.
Among other menaces, global warming is also devastating the region, because it alters the Amazonian water circle, so the trees’ roots remain wet a larger part of the year; as the rainy season lasts longer, the trees are prevented to grow taller because they need dry roots to grow taller.
So, what can I do? There are so many ways in which we all can be better inhabitants to our planet. Today, as an example, I can walk to the supermarket instead of driving a car, even if it is cold, hot or wet outside. We all, artists and non-artists should take our share.