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World Association of International Studies

Post Postcard from Medellin
Created by John Eipper on 08/07/12 6:41 PM

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Postcard from Medellin (John Eipper, USA, 08/07/12 6:41 pm)

Greetings to WAISworld from Medellín!  While trying to keep up with the demands of a conference and the daily flow of WAIS postings, I've been remiss about updating WAISers on my whereabouts.  So I'll let a picture speak on my behalf.  Here I am, near a "Metrocable" station in the "barrios populares" (working-class neighborhoods) on the northeast slopes of this city-in-a-valley.  One very cool aspect of Medellín is that the cablecars are not a tourist amusement, but rather a full-blown connection to the city's mass transit system.  In this vertical city, there was no other way to link hillside residents to the downtown.  As far as urban vistas go, I think only Rio de Janeiro and possibly San Francisco outdo Medellín.  (The "Spain" t-shirt was picked up last month in Poland.  In that it says Spain and not España, I found something irresistibly ironic about the shirt):

JE in Medellín, Colombia, 5 August 2012.  Photo Aldona Pobutsky

Here's another shot, from Fernando Botero's latest series of paintings, Viacrucis, which depicts in his inimitable way the passion of Christ.  The Museo de Antioquia in downtown Medellín has some 100 paintings and sculptures from the world's greatest living artist, nearly all of them donated by Botero.  What's the total value of the donation?  $500 million?  Has there ever been a greater example of artistic generosity than Botero's gift to his native city?

Fernando Botero, Flagellation of Christ, 2010, Museo de Antioquia (Photo JE)

Why does Botero paint everyone and everything fat?  According to the artist, he is not obsessed with "gordos" but with volume, and all its representational richness.  This explanation works for me.

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