Colombian artist Diana Velásquez’ drawings, paintings, and installations focus on society’s gaps. She has made her mark in the art world This woman was even able to intervene in the Grand Palais in Paris! Learn more about her here.
Diana Velásquez was born in Bogotá in 1978. She began her journey at the Arts Students League in New York with an experimental painting course. A few years later, she graduated from the visual arts program at her hometown’s Universidad de los Andes. She also obtained a master’s degree in theory and practice of contemporary visual arts from Spain’s Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Arte Informado, n.d.).
She has shown her work individually and with other artists around the world. Some of her main exhibitions include (Diana Velásquez, n.d.):
- ‘Another approach to non-painting installation at the Espacio Habitar la Línea (Madrid), in 2021.
- ‘L’attente’ intervention of the Grand Palais (Paris), in 2020.
- ‘¿Paz en las mesas?’ at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Bogotá), as part of the Food of War collective in 2019.
- ‘En-jeu’ at the Maison de L’Amérique Latine (Strasbourg), in 2007.
Moreover, Velásquez is no stranger to accolades in her field. For instance, she held a spot at the 2021 Encontro de Artistas Novos. She also won a scholarship from XIX Becas ALNORTE in 2020 (Arte Informado, n.d.).
Velásquez is etching her name alongside renowned artist women in Colombia, like sculptor Doris Salcedo and pianist Teresita Gómez.
Diana Velásquez and her take on art
In her own words, Diana Velásquez has always “liked drawing, building things, and exploring new techniques.” She has a sociological approach to art, mixed with spatiality, architecture, and audience interaction. In fact, much of her work needs the spectator to activate it or complete it.
“Art is the place where I feel out of reality and totally exposed and confronted with myself at the same time,” she says. She is drawn to things that go against the common good but have become a norm. As a result, she delves into themes like domestic violence, war, and migration (Torres, 2020).
Intervening the iconic Grand Palais
Her intervention of Paris’ iconic Grand Palais represents her interest in concerning social situations well. ‘L’attente’, or ‘The wait’, consisted of ten drawings of people waiting in line at feeding centers, supermarkets, or clinical labs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They are characters that are looking for us to see them because old age is somewhat forgotten in contemporary society,” says Velásquez. She photographed them waiting in line in Bogotá, Buenos Aires, and Madrid during the pandemic and then drew them.
She reproduced in grand scale to fit the building’s western front columns. The exhibition was up between October 2020 and February 2021. It made her the first Colombian artist to intervene the Grand Palais (EFE, 2020).Diana Velásquez stands out among Colombia and Bogotá women with her artistic approach to today’s pressing social issues.
Arte Informado. (n.d.). Diana Velásquez Ramírez. https://www.arteinformado.com/guia/f/diana-velasquez-ramirez-40982
Diana Velásquez. (n.d.). Bio. https://www.dianavelasquez.es/bioesp
EFE. (2020). Diana Velásquez, artista colombiana, presenta en el Grand Palais de París su visión de la pandemia. El Espectador. https://www.elespectador.com/el-magazin-cultural/diana-velasquez-artista-colombiana-presenta-en-el-grand-palais-de-paris-su-vision-de-la-pandemia-article/
Torres, S. (2020). #arteencasa con Diana Velásquez. Plataforma de Arte Contemporáneo. https://www.plataformadeartecontemporaneo.com/pac/arteencasa-diana-velasquez/
W Radio. (2020). La historia de la primera artista colombiana en exponer en el Grand Palais de París. https://www.wradio.com.co/noticias/internacional/la-historia-de-la-primera-artista-colombiana-en-exponer-en-el-grand-palais-de-paris/20201216/nota/4095521.aspx