Liliana Botero: Indigenous Inspiration

Dragon - Liliana Botero

At first look you may think of it as abstract but inspiration in Liliana Botero’s paintings come in equal parts from figures, tribal elements and nature.

Growing up in Colombia, Botero sought inspiration from the indigenous people of Panama and Colombia, the Kuna. Famous for their bright molas – meaning blouse or clothing in Kuna language – the word mola is also used to describe colorful images made on cloth, which is exactly what inspired Botero’s very first creations; color.

Mola - Kuna Colombia

Mola – Kuna Colombia

“My favorite thing about the Kuna culture was their garments and hand-made art, but more specifically the contrast of colors. The background is usually black with bright pinks, oranges and greens, forming images of animals and nature in the front. I used to try to copy their style until one day I realized I was limited since their work can be a bit abstract with ridged lines, but by adding organic lines I developed a new style. I also found inspiration by taking often trips to museums in Europe, from other artists like Matisse and Toulouse Lautrec, and Etcher helped me understand Op art.”

The Kuna and Matisse himself may have inspired the artist, but her family name carries art in itself. Being related to Fernando Botero, Liliana’s partner says:

“At first, she felt intimidated to be associated with her uncle because it’s important for her to stand out as an individual and not the family name. Nevertheless, over the past couple years, after going to events together, people started to take notice and understand her work. And her uncle, Fernando Botero, has been nothing but supportive of her unique style and her career in the arts.”

The King Of Soccer- Liliana Botero

The King Of Soccer- Liliana Botero

Having an artist in the family is great but Liliana Botero’s signature style integrating abstract principles and figurative configurations, which she calls Suggestion of Forms in Synthesis, she owes to no one but herself. After earning a BFA from the Art Institute, she says she wanted to create work that will “make people stop for a moment and look deeper inside the overall image.” In addition, when it comes to the smooth, flat surface quality displayed in her paintings, she achieves that by using acrylics and hours of patience.

“Recently, with my last two paintings, I stared mixing cement with acrylic from a company called Cement Design because both products are water-based and I loved the rough texture and volume it gives to my image. Another good quality about this product is that the paintings can literary last forever with it’s used on a hard surface.”

Bike Ride - -Liliana Botero

Bike Ride – -Liliana Botero

Being an artist she says is “great” “but I believe that we can achieve really amazing things through the power of art” which has led Lili Botero and her partner, Peter Perez, to launching one of Miami’s friendliest art destinations: Wynwood Blank Canvas Project.

The philosophy of our gallery is to collaborate with other artists, curators and to work with the community as well. We want to give back and every time we host an event, we are committed to having an auction or a fundraiser that will benefit a local organization. – Botero

Wynwood Blank Canvas Project’s upcoming show for Miami Art Week 2015 in December will benefit the Humane Society where artists will be displaying work influenced by animals suffering abuse or species in danger of extinction. In addition, later in December, Botero and Perez will be collaborating with Miami Children’s Hospital by bringing the “Cuba Libre” artists to teach art lessons and provide art supplies to the children. They are also working on a project for next year to help generate jobs in Haiti.

We receive people with open arms. We wanted to have a place where everyone could come and participate in this, and when artists walk in we don’t neglect anyone. Even if we can’t offer someone an opportunity to show with us, we like to give artists professional advice and guide them in a positive direction.

– Perez

Currently on view at Wynwood Blank Canvas Project: Cuba Libre – a Cuban – American show of eight inspiring artists whose work promotes freedom of creativity.

Sponsors Cuba Libre - Wynwood Blank Canvas Project

Sponsors Cuba Libre – Wynwood Blank Canvas Project