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Colombia: Art, Poetry and Flower Festivals in Medellín

Colombian bloggers recently wrote about the end of the MDE07 Art Festival, an event which attempted to bring contemporary art back into local conversations and back into the lives of the citizens. They also discussed the recent International Poetry festival and the upcoming Fair of the Flowers. In Equinoxio [ES], Carlos Uribe de los Ríos posts a comprehensive review of the results of MDE07.

El Encuentro de Medellín 07 –ciudad + arte contemporáneo– fue la realización cultural más grande, importante y ambiciosa del año. No hay duda. Y aunque comenzó propiamente en enero y terminó en junio, su epicentro de abril y parte de mayo se convirtió en una especie de llamado urgente, creativo y multifacético a una comunidad expectante y a veces desconcertada por las propuestas. Pero de eso se trataba.

The Event Medellin 07 -ciudad + contemporary art- was the largest, most important and ambitious cultural event of the year. There's no doubt about it. And although it officially began in January and ended in June, its epicenter in April and part of May became a sort of urgent , creative and multifaceted call to an audience: expectant and sometimes disconcerted about the proposals. But that's what it was all about.

In Lo Cultural [ES], Jorge Montoya explains:

Los artistas independientes de la ciudad son tenidos en cuenta a medias por las organizaciones responsables de gestionar los eventos respaldados por presupuestos estatales. Así parece leerse en la apreciación de Raúl Jaime Gaviria, director de la Revista Asfódelo, acerca de los pasos para la selección de las producciones artísticas protagonistas del MDE07, quien afirma que “se sigue cometiendo error tras error en las políticas de la cultura en Medellín y lo peor es que estos errores generan víctimas que no son otras que cientos de artistas que le han apostado valientemente a la creación, casi siempre en medio de las peores condiciones y en la soledad más extrema”.

The independent artists of the city are barely taken into account by the organizations responsible for arranging the events backed by state funding. This seems to be the appreciation of Raúl Jaime Gaviria, director of Asfódelo magazine, about the steps taken to select the artistic products to take center stage on MDE07, who states that “the same mistake, one right after the other are being made in cultural policies and the worst thing is that these mistakes generate victims who are none other than the hundreds of artists who have bravely gambled on creation, who are almost always immersed in the worst conditions and the most extreme loneliness”.

Álvaro Ramírez from Ojo al Texto writes:

Medellin sigue vibrando después del famoso MDE07. Por su parte estamos en el XVII Festival Internacional de Poesía, entre julio 14 al 22 con entradas libres y gratuitas a todos los actos.

Luego llega la Feria de las flores que además de ser una especie de carnaval anual, se ha ido cargando de sentido con actividades culturales como V Festival de Cine Colombiano a realizar en el marco de la Feria de las flores, y que se llevará a cabo del 2 al 10 de agosto del presente año.

Medellin is still vibrating after the famous MDE07. On the other hand, we are currently in the XVII International Poetry Festival from July 14th to the 22nd with free admission to every event.
Then along will come the Flower Fair which besides being a sort of annual carnival, has been loading up with meaning by joining with cultural activities such as the V Colombian Film Festival to take place within the Flower Fair and will take place from August 2nd to the 10th of the current year.

JumpTV Latin America and the Caribbean [ES] will be transmitting the Flower Festival events on the web and have the schedule on their blog. In addition, Luz Carvajal has pictures of the Annual Silletero (flower carrier) parade on her space as well, where she explains the origins of the flower carrier tradition and how they began by carrying flowers up and down the mountains strapped to chairs on their backs, but people as well.
The International Medellín Poetry Festival has also been commented on several blogs:

Nuevas Letras blogger Harold Alvarado Tenorio posts an open letter to Fernando Rendón, requesting information regarding finances and organization of the poetry festival, and demanding replies regarding the destination of the funds from awards and prizes. Papelón con Limón writes about expectations Argentinean poets have of the Festival in Colombia.

AQPDescubre [ES] posts:

Este año, el Festival celebra, igualmente, el Premio Nobel Alternativo que le fue concedido en diciembre de 2006 y que, según declaró Franco, “significa la reconfirmación de la necesidad de paz”. Significa, en sus palabras, “que vamos a insistir en que la palabra tiene que estar presente en el proceso de transformación del país”. El poeta aseguró que “el premio se lo dieron al pueblo de Medellín que ha hecho que esto (el festival) sea importante”.

This year, the Festival also celebrates the Alternative Nobel Prize which was awarded on December 2006 and which, according to Franco [Gabriel Jaime Franco, the event´s director], “means the reconfirmation of our need for peace”. It means, in his words, “that we will insist that words have to be present in the process of this country's transformation”. The poet assured that “the award was given to the people of Medellín who have made this (the festival) important”.

Poemas del Alma [ES] posts as well:

Una de las principales novedades será la presentación de una antología con 222 poemas, provenientes de 113 naciones, que será publicada a modo de video en el sitio YouTube.com. Rendón explicó que la tarea demoró cuatro años, tiempo en el que recibieron ciento videos y los fueron editando.

One of the principal attractions will be the presentation of an anthology with 222 poems coming from 113 nations, which will be published as a video in the website YouTube.com. Rendón explained that the task took four years, a time during which they have been receiving hundreds of videos and have been editing them.

Picture of Silletero taken from SantiNaranjo´s flickr page.

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