I chose a work of art by Fernando Botero because I have actually had the privilege of seeing his art first hand. My mother is from Medellin, Colombia which is where Botero is from as well. All throughout Medellin you can see sculptures made by Botero. I included a link that shows some of his sculptures in Medellin. Although unfamiliar with his art until now, I chose Botero’s, Abu Ghraib 66, (2005).
I chose this particular painting because it is one of his newer pieces and based on his other works of art, I find it interesting that he would find the Abu Ghraib tragedies so inspiring. In observing his other work, this seems almost out of character for him as an artist. The tragedies and abuse in the prisons of Abu Gharaib deeply moved Botero when The New Yorker first published these accounts in May of 2004. It contained a horrific account of what Major General Antonio M. Taguba described as “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at the prison. Botero began sketching the horrific scenes that he imagined based on what he had read. Botero numbered the works in sequence as if creating a chronicle of his own response. In Berkeley professor Robert Hass, Botero said, “What I wanted was to visualize the atmosphere described in the articles, to make visible what was invisible.” Botero’s interest in art was also inspired early on by works of Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Siqueiros mentioning that “they made the reality of the country the subject of their art,” Botero saw in their paintings a “direct way of speaking.”
His reaction to these tragedies drew me to this project of Botero’s and this picture in particular. This picture shows pure torture in detail but only the face. I almost feel he is comparing this torture to the one Jesus is said to faced before he was killed when he was said to have bled tears and sweat of blood. It must have been an immense torture for these prisoners. I also like the simplicity of this piece as it is just a head shot but it conveys so much emotion.