CARACAS – El Avila mountain, which dominates the north side of the Venezuelan capital, is seen throughout “Caracas, A Place,” an art exhibition that opened on Friday at the CAF Gallery of the Latin American Development Bank to commemorate the 450 years since the city was founded.
The mountain that forms the background to daily life in Caracas permeates almost all the art works in the exhibition, in which four artists – three Venezuelans and a Spaniard – recreate that peak and other symbols of the city which, according to Venezuelan writer Hector Torres, is dying.
The curator of the CAF Gallery, Mariela Provenzali, told EFE that the exhibition aims to “lower the tone of violence a little in this city by recalling how it was during its 450 years.”
In her opinion, Caracas “is a place that captures you” and, imagining it without the buildings and shantytowns now massed on some of its mountain slopes, it appears as “an open valley, an idyllic place, a paradise.”
These paintings are therefore exhibited with the hope that “when people enter the gallery they feel a calm, a tranquility that can connect them with all that is good in the city.”
About the artists taking part in the show, Provenzali noted the coincidence that all four consider El Avila National Park as “an element that keeps us alive, that anchors us to this city.”
Roberto de la Fuente, one of the artists who admits to being “an Avila lover,” said he has more than 10 years working with this element as “the main setting of the city of Caracas,” and that he started observing it some time ago and making sketches, a practice he continues to this day.
“I understood the mountain as a living being in a state of constant flux throughout the day and year... with an infinite capacity for constant change,” said De la Fuente, who has five pieces on show, though only one portrays the relation of El Avila mountain with the rest of the city.
He said he has always been interested in “the metaphysics of mountain and sky, where man has no presence,” and that for the artist, Caracas has a visual language that goes from realism to impressionism.
For his part, Ricardo Benaim, who is showing 17 works from his “Unforgettable Caracas” collection at the CAF Gallery, sums up his contribution as a combination of “codes, signs, icons, symbolic elements and majestic monuments” of the Venezuelan capital, for which he proclaims an unquestionable love.
Caracas native Pancho Quilici and Spain’s Adrian Pujol complete, with their respective visions of Caracas, the selection of works that will be on show free at the CAF Gallery every Sunday through Friday until next January.