I had been traveling for 10 months when I arrived at ArteSumapaz, accompanied by Damián and carrying heavy backpacks. This house, lost among the mountains, has been one of the hundreds of places that I have inhabited since I started traveling. During this journey I have had very diverse homes, including mobile homes, beach houses, tents, hostels, apartments and pensions. Some I loved, and others not so much; It’s part of the “risk” of this adventure. ArteSumapaz is one of the homes that I loved.
I had wished to reach a place like this. One night of the new moon a while ago, I visualized what I wanted to come into my life: A house on the mountain, away from everything, where I could contemplate nature, enjoy silence, read and paint. And in that precise place I am right now, writing this.
We arrived on a Sunday and Ric picked us up in his car, in the village of Portones. We advanced through green mountains and when we were close, he told us, “There is ArteSumapaz”, pointing forward – and we saw for the first time the white and red and green buildings, in the middle of an immense space, just in front of the horizon where the mountains merge with the sky. A beautiful place to rage, that excites you; an atmosphere that removes many feelings.
From our arrival, everyday we shared meals in the great dining room of the house. Around the table, we met face to face among artists and talked about our emotions of the day: the best and the worst, our sayings and our sufferings. At the same time, we enjoyed vegetarian recipes, accompanied by the juice of some of the hundreds of tasty fruits that grow in these lands.
During the time we were here we shared those feasts with Peppa and Ric, the hosts of the house. There were also the brothers Hugo and Quentin (audiovisual artists of France), Sol (US Performer), María (genius in healthy Colombian food), Damián (Argentine writer) and I, Constanza (Chilean “Periodibujante”). Among other friends who passed through the dining room.
As volunteers, we work every day in whatever it takes. The first days we participated in the construction of a new building: we loaded bricks; flattened the earth; reduced debris and cleaned the space, with boots and shovel in hand. Soon there will be an exhibition hall and other spaces for artists. We also made translations for the website and cooked bread and granola. I fully enjoyed all our work.
The rest of the time is dedicated to our art or whatever we want, having available a very rich library of art books, a workshop on top of the mountain to isolate themselves to create and more than one hundred hectares of nature to explore.
Personally, it was the first time I developed “officially” as an artist and the first time I shared a workshop with other creators. I learned some important things, like it is better for me to work standing up and look at my works stuck on the wall. Ric, on the other hand, suggested that I experiment with “blind drawing”, which is drawing trying not to look at the canvas. Also, inside me, I asked myself things like “Why make art?”; among many other incredible ideas that flourished in this fertile land.
Several days I watched the sunset drinking tea and some nights we all shared around the fire. As artists and travelers, I recognized myself among pure sensitive souls, something that many times we need, especially in large cities.
Here, we are allowed to feel. It is allowed to listen. We are together, playing, and trying to be children again. ArteSumapaz a place to discover and discover. To be inspired, think, feel and create.
By Constanza “Cona” Troncoso, from Chile.
Volunteer and artist-in-residency in Artesumapaz between August 18 and 30, 2019.