Monthly Archives: August 2011

field trip into the centre…

click here for the official blog for our workshop moravia video lab – in spanish and not mine for a change!

So we decide to take the girls out of Moravia and into the centre of Medellin. The centre is not the safest of areas but it does have a lot of shops and good museums, so armed with a few discreet pocket video cameras we go with 10 of the girls, the youngest of whom is 12 so it’s a big responsibility…

Actually it’s very cool, some of the girls have never taken the metro before nor been to a museum. They really enjoy the Museo de Antioquia and go crazy with the video cameras, filming and describing what what they like and why…


The theme of our whole workshop is to touch upon the position the female in the society where the girls live. Its not so easy for them, females here are sexualised from a very young age…i know this goes on everywhere but here it is particularly acute…

So we are in the Museo de Antioquia which has a huge collection of the Colombian grand master Fernando Botero. I hate how he treats the female form…always decorative with huge breasts and bums…mainly naked, often with child…yawn. However i love some of his paintings…he is a new discovery for me, though hugely famous in South America…

I LOVE this…Velazquez 1997 by Fernando Botero

Pablo Escobar dead, 2006 by Fernando Botero

Hmm – Escobar dead, the deification begins (Medellin was his town) – his figure in large scale (like part religious figures, his wounds like those of St Sebastian…the woman gazing up from below, looks like she is praying??? hmmmm…

the girls look so nice in front of a victorian photographers backdrop that i ask them all to pose for me…

I only take my camera out inside the museum…no way outside…the centre is frenetic, tense and more than a little crazy…we made the mistake of going back there by ourselves the following Sunday…BIG mistake as it is much quieter which means than me and Rosa (with whom i collaborate) really stand out, and there are WAY more scary people…if a street is quiet, generally you don’t walk down it…won’t do that again…

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points of view…

I may be in Colombia, but there is a festival going on back in Edinburgh…

Situated within the St Andrew’s Square Gardens lies the Solar Pavilion a structure commissioned by the Edinburgh Art Festival 2011.  The pavilion was designed by Scottish artist Karen Forbes and creates a focal point and centre to the Art Festival this year, as a dynamic space to showcase the latest of Scottish and international creativity and innovation.

As one of 24 artists asked to create works influenced by issues of site and context within their own work in response to the ideas behind the Solar Pavilion, Edinburgh and its location, I responded with the following work:

Work title: Points of View

I decided to reflect on the idea of the journey made by the Melville Monument’s (which towers above the pavilion) circling shadow and parallel that with the journeys I regularly make away from Edinburgh and Home. It’s very simple, the idea of place and location for me. Especially as i move regularly from location to location dictated by project necessities. As soon as i arrive somewhere i locate a particular point of view that i look towards and note the changes on a daily basis. I decided to present photographically my 2 most recent points of view as for now they give me my sense of place location and home away from Home

View 1 for 3 months: (working as a collaborating artist for artists’ residence UNIDEE at Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto)  Biella, N. Italy, towards the mountain of Mucrone  (Latitude: 45.57172 Longitude  8.05444) distance from St Andrews Square Garden Solar Pavilion 1396 km

View 2 for 4 weeks: (While co-running video workshops for teenage girls in the Barrio of Moravia), Medellin Colombia towards the Andes (Latitude 6.27556  Longitude  -75.56490) distance from St Andrews Square Garden Solar Pavilion 8338 km

The work will continue and i plan to create an ongoing archive on my points of view and their geographical location regarding the distance from Edinburgh and Home.

THERE WILL BE A SCREENING OF ALL THE WORKS COMMISSIONED IN THE SOLAR PAVILION, ST ANDREWS SQUARE GARDENS ON THE EVENING OF THE 3RD SEPTEMBER,  CHECK THE SOLAR PAVILION WEBSITE FOR DETAILS…

in praise of colombian food…

The food here is heavy but really good. It is heavily influenced by indigenous ingredients like sweetcorn, yucca and plantain…they fry things A LOT…but they also eat a lot of fruit – we are in the tropics so everything grows here and i have tried many new varieties…

…breakfast of carrot juice, arepa (a little maize bread roll) and pan de queso – a sweet and salty donut shaped bread…

…frijoles – beans that you can eat on their own or with rice, ground beef and a patacón (fried plantain)…

This is WONDERFUL!, pictured above and below are fiambres -in Spain fiambres are cold cuts of meat or salami… – but here a fiambre is a general term for a packed lunch. Way before Tupperware there were giant banana leaves, which were used to wrap up your food for the day…

…i opened this one up and inside was…a bed of rice with a little ground beef, a chorizo sausage, an arepa (maize bread) a poached egg and papas (potatoes)…

The Colombians also have a really sweet tooth, they have a version of dulce de leche here called areqipa. These above are obleas, thin, giant wafers between which are sandwiched the ultra sweet arequipa and a salty crumbled cheese…they are DELICIOUS…

…club colombia – excellent prize winning Colombian beer…to be continued…

other foody posts on this blog:

callos a la gallega

ossobuco vs xerrete

restaurant still lives

few flowered recipes

first forage of the season

nose to tail and farajullas

flloeira

cocido gallego

albariño wine genius

chorizos

returning to the matanza

chorizos

chocolate con churros

pani puri sunday

cicchetti tea-break

baracca

empanada

further adventures in foraging

revelations in a milanese restaurant

braid burn

cooking the haul

foraging2

foraging

more foodie questions

foodie questions

nose to tail,

(s)light relief,

pulpo a la gallega

the matanza

morcilla and dying arts

jamòn serrano

the complicated story of el morro…

…So El Morro is a hill in the heart of Moravia where people went to live, to escape from drug violence and warfare from other barrios in Medellin in the 80’s and 90’s. It is grassy hill, but under the grass is neither earth nor rock but garbage…only garbage and much of it toxic as it also used to be a dumping ground for a nearby hospital’s toxic waste.

2000 little houses used to exist here…in the poorest of conditions…no water but some electricity, illegally tapped from the main grid, now there are only 200. The people are being cleared out and there houses being destroyed because it is so toxic here.

(cross section of the Morro showing the layers of garbage under the grass)

Why am i here? Well one of our video exercises was for each girl to pick a spot in her barrio that means something to her, she then films it while commenting on what she is filming and why she chose it. 3 of the girls chose the Morro as a location, so up we climb, up the Morro, up dirty, grassy, garbagy, steep dirt paths…must be a kind of hell when it rains…and it rains here a lot…


( numbers are placed on the homes by the local authorities, it means the house will be torn down…)

Anyway so 3 girls want to film up here…they ask me what i think of the place?…what can i say?…I tell them its very ugly and also kind beautiful (like everything here…it’s complicated). Up on the top of the hill the view is wonderful…Medellin and the surrounding mountains spreads panoramically before me…and its peaceful too…The housing is very poor, but people do not want to leave here. It is home and everyone who lives here says this is a peaceful barrio. People are afraid they will be moved to a much more violent area…or that they will be housed in very small apartments 7 or 8 stories high with no lifts. People feel very claustrophobic there and kids have already died as they were not used to living high up and so they fell from the balconies…

Sarah films from the top of the hill looking down on the rest of Moravia and Medellin

The Morro will eventually be cleared of all people. There will be some planting but the ground is very poisonous so it will need to be left fallow for some time to come…

Once the girls have finished editing, i will post their films…

shopping and the weather…

The weather is MENTAL here, its very warm but it rains most days or nights, big crazy ass thunderstorms that come in from the surrounding mountains with incredible cloud formations … so beautiful…

…it really looked like this, i have not tampered with this picture…

Meanwhile shopping is an interesting experience…around Medellin and a lot in Moravia you can’t always go in, instead you stand outside behind thick iron bars while someone serves you from within…

general store

…a lot of people convert the front of their homes into tiny stores, this is a miniature liquor store under someone’s stairwell…

…this place sells bread and cheese…

…the drugstore…

…but there is a lot of beauty in these little stores, mainly from the hand painted ads painted at the entrances…

EL ANGELITO – LOVE LIFE AND WHAT YOU DO