Arts & Entertainment

Colombian artist paints with blood in anti-war message

Bogota, Mar 23 (EFE).- A Colombian artist in Cali has painted portraits and murals using human blood, so that no more blood is “spilled in Colombia by wars.”

“We want to send a clear message that we do not want more blood to be spilled in Colombia by wars and by all the conflicts that the country has experienced, but this time we are going to shed more blood for art and culture,” social leader John Freddy Guevara, who invited Julián Castillo to Cali’s Commune 20 to make the art pieces, told EFE.

Using the blood donated by five young people and diluted in a pigment to prevent it from oxidizing and to remain on the wall, Castillo painted a portrait of René Pérez, whose songs are chanted during protests, Puerto Rican singer Residente, and a dove of peace on an old water tank, which didn’t work because it was poorly built and ended up being converted into a garbage dump.

The young people of the working-class Siloe neighborhood cleaned it and now want to re-convert it into an observatory, which will be decorated with paintings by Castillo.

“This sector of Las Estrellas is the symbol of Cali and we are working to make it a tourist spot. It is a place that we want to gift to tourism, so we invite all Caleños and foreigners to also come and participate with us to see the change in Commune 20,” Castillo said.

Castillo began in 2019 with a large mural of an eagle in the municipality of Roldanillo in the Valle del Cauca department.

He started with more commonplace materials, such as pencils, and made murals including the one that adorns the façade of the Oasis hotel in Roldanillo, for which he won the Guinness World Record, but he “liked the experience of working with unusual materials”.

“Then at one point, I started thinking about what can be used, that is very striking,” he told EFE, and ended up painting with blood.

He has been helped in the process by nurse Víctor Ruiz, who joined the initiative because he believes “that a lot of blood has been shed throughout Colombia’s history” and this type of work helps to carry a message of peace.

“We try to make it as aseptic, hygienic and clean as possible,” he explained.

The duo look for volunteers and get the medical supplies, draw blood professionally and make the mixture to prepare the painting.

Cali was the epicenter of last year’s protests in Colombia, in which more than 80 people were killed, many of them allegedly due to police violence. EFE


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