Landscapes of Chingaza (Paisajes de Chingaza)

July 31 - September 30, 2017

Biblioteca Virgilio Barco

Bogotá , Colombia

The exhibit opens July 31 in conjunction with the international forum: "Benefit of National Natural Parks for Society: PNN Chingaza”. 2pm – 6pm

Painting of Laguna Seca

About the paintings:

Chingaza National Park is located 20 miles (50 km) east of Bogotá, Colombia, at between 9,000 and 13,000 feet (2,700m to 3,900 m) elevation. It serves as a refuge for the richly diverse páramo ecosystem, a high-elevation tropical grassland unique to the northern Andes. Chingaza is also the main source of drinking water for the eight million inhabitants of Bogotá.

At the highest elevations of the park, the formerly glaciated landscape is typically covered with relatively low, warm-colored grasses punctuated by silvery groups of espeletia, an unusual member of the aster family. Lower down, as the páramo grades into cloud forest it becomes more varied with dense patches of chusquea (a bamboo) and an array of shrubs and low trees that host a wide variety of aerophytes on their branches. The lowest slopes are cloaked by the resplendent Andean cloud forest. These richly diverse plant communities host numerous animal species including the Andean bear, white tail deer, tapir, puma, and over 200 bird species.

In 2014 and again in 2016 my wife Beth and I spent several days in the heart of Chingaza National Park, staying mainly at Monte Redondo station as well as a few days at La Paila station. With the help of the park staff and the expert ecological guidance of Cristián Samper, we explored a wide variety of the park’s environments from these locations. The resulting field paintings, photographs, and memories now serve as the basis for several larger canvases painted in my studio in Athens, Georgia. Together they offer a wide-ranging view of Chingaza’s gorgeous páramo and cloud forests.

To my knowledge, a comprehensive artistic representation of this Andean ecosystem has not been done before. I hope that exhibiting these paintings in celebration of Chingaza’s 40th anniversary will help raise awareness of the park and promote conservation for an environment that is considered an evolutionary hotspot as well as a critical natural resource for drinking water in the region. Last but not least, it will be a chance for me to share my impressions of a place I have fallen in love with.

I am grateful to the park staff who made much of this project possible and to Cristián Samper for introducing Beth and me to Chingaza – and indeed for inspiring this project.

Sobre las pinturas:

El Parque Nacional Natural Chingaza está situado 50 kilómetros de Bogotá, Colombia al este, con una elevación entre 2.700-3.900 metros.  Funciona como un refugio para el páramo, una pradera tropical, única a los andes septentrionales con un ecosistema ricamente diverso.  Chingaza también es la fuente principal de agua potable para los 8 millones habitantes de Bogotá.

Más arriba en el parque, el paisaje anteriormente congelado típicamente está cubierto por hierbas bajas de colores cálidos y marcado por grupos plateados de espeletia, un miembro único de la familia aster.  Más abajo, el páramo llega a ser un bosque nuboso y crece más variado con parcelas densas de chusquea y una colección de arbustos y árboles bajos que sirven como huésped para una amplia variedad de aerófitas.  Las laderas más abajos están encapotadas por el resplandeciente bosque nuboso de los andes.  Estas comunidades ricamente diversas de vegetación albergan numerosas especies de animales, incluso el oso andino, ciervo, tapir, y más que 200 especies de aves.

En 2014 y otra vez en 2016 mi esposa Beth y yo pasamos varios días en el corazón del Parque Nacional Natural Chingaza, alojado primariamente en la estación Monte Redondo y también varios días en la estación La Paila.  Con el apoyo del personal del parque y la dirección ecológica experto de Cristián Samper, exploramos una amplia variedad del parque desde estas dos ubicaciones.  Las pinturas de campo, las fotografías, y las memorias resultantes ahora sirven como el base para varios lienzos más grandes pintados en mi estudio en Athens, Georgia.  Juntamente, ofrecen una amplia vista del páramo y los bosques nubosos maravillosos de Chingaza.

Que yo sepa, una representación artística comprensiva de esto ecosistema andino no se ha hecho antes.  Espero que la exhibición de estas pinturas en celebración del 40° aniversario puede despertar conciencia del parque y promover la conservación para un ambiente que está considerado un centro evolucionario así como un recurso natural crítico para agua potable en la región.  En último orden, aunque no en importancia, será una oportunidad para mi compartir mis impresiones de un lugar con que me he enamorado.

Estoy agradecido al personal del parque que hizo posible mucho de este proyecto y también a Cristián Samper por introducirnos, Beth y yo, a Chingaza – y verdaderamente por inspirar este proyecto.

About the forum:

During the months of June, July, and August, National Natural Parks of Colombia will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Chingaza National Park with a series of free activities directed at the 11 municipalities that are part of the Chingaza National Park as well as in Bogota and Villavicencio, cities that benefit from environmental services provided by this important natural area.

In addition to the many events in and around the park, in Bogota on July 31, the central event of this commemoration will be held at the Virgilio Barco Library. The International Forum entitled “Benefit of National Natural Parks for Society: PNN Chingaza” will involve national environmental leaders including the director of the National Parks, Julia Miranda, the director of the Humboldt Institute, Brigitte Baptiste, the former environment minister and university professor, Doctor Manuel Rodríguez, and biologist Cristián Samper, one of the founders of the Humboldt Institute, deputy director of the Department of Tropical Research of the Smithsonian, former director of the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and current president and executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

Finishing the forum will be the opening of the art exhibition of the American painter Philip Juras, recognized for reconstructing natural landscapes that have been degraded by man. The exhibition will be in the library Virgilio Barco for 1 month, with free admission.

More information at: http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.co/portal/es/44760-2/

Sobre el foro:

Durante los meses de junio, julio y agosto, los Parques Naturales Nacionales de Colombia celebrarán el 40 aniversario del Parque Nacional Chingaza con una serie de actividades gratuitas, dirigidas a los 11 municipios que hacen parte del Parque Nacional Chingaza, así como en Bogotá y Villavicencio, ciudades que se benefician de los servicios ambientales que presta esta importante área natural.

Además de los muchos eventos en y alrededor del parque, en Bogotá el 31 de julio se llevará a cabo en la biblioteca Virgilio Barco el evento central de esta conmemoración: el Foro internacional “Beneficio de los Parques Nacionales Naturales a la sociedad: caso PNN Chingaza, que contará con la participación de líderes ambientales nacionales como la directora general de Parques Nacionales Julia Miranda, la directora del Instituto Humboldt Brigitte Baptiste, el exministro de ambiente y docente universitario Doctor Manuel Rodríguez y contará la presencia del biólogo Cristian Samper, uno de los fundadores del Instituto Humboldt, subdirector del Departamento de Investigación Tropical del Smithsoniano, exdirector del Museo de Historia Natural y actual presidente y director ejecutivo de la Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

Finalizando el foro se realizará la inauguración de la exposición de arte del pintor estadounidense Philip Juras, reconocido por realizar reconstrucción de paisajes que han sido degradados por el hombre. La exposición estará en la biblioteca Virgilio Barco durante 1 mes, con entrada libre.

Para más información: http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.co/portal/es/44760-2/

View Over San Juanito

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Chingaza National Park
2017

Oil on canvas 42 x 66in. (167.64 x 106.68cm)
Available

View from La Paila (Frailejon Valley and Laguna Chingaza)

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
2017

Oil on canvas 42 x 66in. (167.64 x 106.68cm)
Private collection

Quebrada Babilonia

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
2017

Oil on canvas 36 x 48in. (121.92 x 91.44cm)
Private collection

Sunlit Cloud Forest

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
2017

Oil on canvas 36 x 48in. (121.92 x 91.44cm)
Private collection

Puya and Espeletia

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
2015

Oil on canvas 30 x 48in. (121.92 x 76.2cm)
Private collection

Páramo above the Rio Guatiquía

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
2016

Oil on canvas 30 x 48in. (121.92 x 76.2cm)
Private collection

Frailejones (Espeletia Grandiflora)

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
2016

Oil on canvas 30 x 48in. (121.92 x 76.2cm)
Private collection

Laguna Seca

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
2015

Oil on canvas 24 x 48in. (121.92 x 60.96cm)
Private collection

View from the Park Office

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
August 9, 2014

Oil on canvas 14 x 18in. (45.72 x 35.56cm)
Private collection

Frailejon Valley 2

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
July 28, 2016

Oil on canvas 14 x 18in. (45.72 x 35.56cm)
Private collection

Cloud Forest Interior

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
July 26, 2016

Oil on canvas 12 x 16in. (40.64 x 30.48cm)
Available

Frailejon Valley 1

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
July 27, 2016

Oil on canvas 12 x 16in. (40.64 x 30.48cm)
Available

Mountain Fog Impression

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Colombia
2016

Oil on canvas 8 x 15in. (38.1 x 20.32cm)
Private collection

Cloud Forest Interior

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Chingaza National Park
August 8, 2014

Oil on paper 10 x 10in. (25.4 x 25.4cm)
Private collection

Páramo Colors

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
July 28, 2016

Oil on paper 10 x 10in. (25.4 x 25.4cm)
Available

Espeletia Argentea

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
August 7, 2014

Oil on paper 10 x 10in. (25.4 x 25.4cm)
Private collection

Cloud Forest View

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
July 25, 2016

Oil on paper 10 x 10in. (25.4 x 25.4cm)
Private collection

Evening, Monte Redondo

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
July 26, 2016

Oil on paper 10 x 10in. (25.4 x 25.4cm)
Private collection

Cloud Forest Opening

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
August 8, 2014

Oil on paper 10 x 10in. (25.4 x 25.4cm)
Private collection

Stream Study (Quebrada Babilonia)

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
July 27, 2016

Oil on paper 10 x 10in. (25.4 x 25.4cm)
Available

Páramo Impression

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Colombia
2015

Oil on canvas 9 x 9in. (22.86 x 22.86cm)
Private collection

Cloud Forest Sketch

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Colombia
2017

Oil on canvas 8 x 10in. (25.4 x 20.32cm)
Private collection

Espeletia Grandiflora

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
August 7, 2014

Oil on paper 8 x 10in. (25.4 x 20.32cm)
Private collection

Espeletia Uribei

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Chingaza National Park, Colombia
August 7, 2014

Oil on paper 8 x 10in. (25.4 x 20.32cm)
Private collection

Philip painting in Chingaza, 2014. Photo by Beth Gavrilles.

Philip painting in Chingaza, 2014. Photo by Beth Gavrilles.