Then the doorbell rang. Llubia – a brown poodle about the size of a cat – ran past me and yipped as she headed for the door. I took a sip of wine from the glass on my right and continued to stay bent over the sofa overlooking Park Bolivar.
It was about 20:00 and the junkies and the pickpockets and the other derelicts were gathered there in full force. It was a male voice and Jorge Uribe – the 79 year old artist I posed for – told me I could stand up.
So I turned around to meet Jader – a professor of Art at the University of Antioquia and EAFIT — who was talking with Edwin Velez — a professor of photography at the Colombian University — who had been taking pictures of the sketching session for Jorge. Then Fernando Mora — a professor of film making at EAFIT — arrived.
A naked woman with four men – one she had only known for a week and three strangers – may sound a touch strange to some, but in the world of art it is like having a cup of tea.
Jader wanted to show me something so I went to my handbag to get my glasses.
“You look so strong and dominant wearing those glasses. I have to capture that look “ he announced.
He grabbed me by the hand, led me to a chair, pulled out his pad and started sketching.
I met Jorge – an icon in the Colombian art work through my friend Alvaro – on Friday July 19th and we bonded. And a week later I was posing for him while his friends came to visit.
Jorge’s wife – Ethel Gilmour, an American-born woman who died in 2006 – was also an artist and between them they were very important in the Medellin art world since the 1970s.
Fifteen years ago they bought the entire sixth floor apartment of a huge building in the center of the city. Their original art is juxtaposed with kitsch – stuffed toys, plastic pieces, copies of statues –and the entire space is covered, but it comes together to make an artistic statement.
Every time I visit I see something I hadn’t noticed before. The apartment is a proverbial museum.
Jorge has been appointed artist-in-residence in the small, but very art-focused town of Jericho, 104 km further up the mountains, so he will be moving.
The apartment truly is a monument and nothing has been changed since Ethel died. I did a documentary shoot of between 600 to 700 photos.
Here are some examples of what the apartment looks like and there are more photos at the end of the blog.
I put the photos on a USB for Jorge and on another for the archives at EAFIT as he and Ethel had close connections with that university.
Frankly, I’m not sure exactly how to describe the relationship between Jorge and I. But it doesn’t matter as we are very close and enjoy each other’s company immensely.
He corrects my Spanish so I refer to him as my professor. We cuddle and have a nap after lunch. Really, does it get much better?
Here is a link to an interview with Jorge on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fSXQzTQgWk
And one about Ethel is at http://www.eafit.edu.co/cultura/ellegado/sitio/exposiciones-flores.html