Albeiro Rojas Tomedes
Year of Birth:
Where are you currently living?
I live and work in London, UK.
What kind of work do you do?
I am most interested in painting, art installations and sculpture, especially how one discipline can shape the other. I like exploring the liminal forms that exist in between.
Amazon on the Edge
Oil and gloss paint skin cut-outs on board
120 x 160 cm
What elements of your life inspired you to pursue your creativity? Was there a turning point or an event that made you want to become something?
For me, I think it was natural, as I grew up in the Amazon in Colombia, which has heavily influenced me. During my childhood, the beauty of nature and the richness of indigenous culture surrounded me. I grew up contemplating the magic of this unique place, but nowadays I see how it is being destroyed, deforested and contaminated. The identity, culture and heritage of the indigenous people are being eroded through a process of gentrification, as modern western civilization and globalization squeeze out traditional practices. All this somehow inspired me to do something and I use art as an opportunity to tell people about what is happening in this place; that it should be protected before it is all destroyed.
Perceptions (In London), 2015
Acrylics on Cow Dung
approx. 180 x 250 cm
This art installation was part of an exhibition in India where I took an art residency this year. I decided to transport part of the installation to London.
The focus of the art residency was to respond to the locations in which we were working with local artists to develop an art project. The idea of using cow dung in the piece arose because it was the first thing that made an impact on me when I arrived in India. Cows were everywhere and later on I discovered how useful the material cow dung was to local people, having a multitude of practical functions. The area is inhabited mostly by poor, tribal people and they use it as a fuel for cooking, as a fertilizer, for building their houses, in shampoo and even to make cake to eat, so it was more useful than I could have imagined. I decided to extend its use further, making it central to my installation. I took wooden sticks covered in cow dung that were used as cooking fuel and coloured them with local Indian powders. These were hung side by side in an installation in the gallery. Now, in London, part of the original installation is being exhibited in my first solo exhibition.
Do you have an artistic intention, focus, or message that you try to convey?
Always in each and every work I have an intention, a focus or message. Currently my paintings are reflecting the destruction inflicted upon places like the Amazon. This is the reason why paint on my paintings is falling off, being cut, ripped, carved and destroyed. I want people get that idea and think beyond the surface of my paintings.
How do you meet and collaborate with like-minded people?
I met most people I know and collaborate with in projects through university, or through a network of friends. There is a group of artists who share a studio complex and private views or exhibitions are also a good place to meet people. So far, the projects I have developed together with them have been fruitful experiences that will encourage us to continue working and developing new projects in the future.
Oil and gloss paint on board and floor
approx. 160 x 120 cm
How do you think the internet and social media can benefit creatives like you?
Technology, the internet and all social media, of course make life easier in many aspects. In terms of my creativity, I benefit by having information at hand, being able to read and research artists, view their works and learn from their experiences. The internet also facilitates contact and meeting others if I want to and provides the opportunity to share my work with others and let them know what I am doing or what my plans are within art.
Do you think the internet has improved your ability to connect with other artists?
I guess so; I am in contact with other artists and we share each other’s opinions, information about our exhibitions or anything of relevance to our lives as artists. It is a great tool to use if one takes the best from it, especially helping make connections with other people with a common interest in art.
Thoughts on social media and anonymity?
Nowadays, so much is possible, so it depends on our attitude as to whether to stay anonymous or take what may be considered a risk with the exposure of revealing parts about yourself on social media. There are many things, particularly related to our personal lives, that we prefer remain private, unless we wish to make some sort of statement in our work. Generally, I think most people want to share their interest in art with others. There can be a lot of mutual benefits from sharing ideas, work, and opinions. I’m glad we live in a society where can decide what to share, as many in the world don’t have this basic freedom. I believe individuals should have the right to decide, as that should be an inseparable part of personal freedom.
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