Lectures, workshops and collaborative projects require artists and communities to work together thereby forming bonds and sharing experiences and powerful forms of interaction. Very few Asian artists have had the chance to visit Medellín. The residency of Umesh Kumar from Bangalore, India, in 2009 at Casa Tres Patios has signified an important opportunity for the public and art community to be able to interact with him and learn about his culture and the artistic practices in India.
After being introduced to several local artists and art students Umesh gave two lectures about the history of art in India, contemporary art in India and his own work. The relationship between art, religion and mythology was made clear and the public noted the similarities in the progression from figurative work to abstraction to conceptual work in India and Colombia.
One of these lectures was given in EAFIT University in Medellín to a group of students all over the age of 50, which became a unique opportunity to share his experience and the cultural traditions with a group that normally do not visit alternative art spaces.
Umesh also attended the 13th Regional Salon of Contemporary Art in Armenia, one of the most important cultural events in the country and two art fairs in Bogotá: ARTBO (a large international art fair which includes galleries and art projects from Colombia, Latin America and other parts of the world) and an alternative art fair called “La Otra”.
He also visited several other artist collectives in Medellín such as Taller Sitio and Taller 7, two of the most active spaces in the city and he has been trying to develop collaborative works with some of the local artists such as Fredy Alzate, Viviana Palacio and Hernán Marín.
Umesh has developed a dialogue with professors and students of the Department of Fine Arts in the University of Antioquia and often drops in to the studio classes to interact with the professors and to see the student’s work . He is now working in a multimedia workshop with some of them: David Arango, Vanessa Forero Ramírez, Mauricio Jaramillo T., Felipe Montoya, Luis Bernardo Escobar, Maryluz Guzmán Toro, Sebastián Gómez V., Katerine Ruiz Rojas and Andrea Isaacs.
Though artists from Medellín often use literal images of the city or its inhabitants in very creative ways, more formalist concerns such as the transformations that Umesh achieves with his work are not often found there. He is challenging the participants to look at their surroundings and to think about the inherent qualities in objects or materials that they take for granted in order to give them new meaning.