color pencil on old book page on canvas
21cm x 15 cm
“Aproppiation” is a serie of poppies and snail drawings that talk about my process “re-looking” at objects in new places. As a Colombian, poppies had a negative connotation and their images were tied to anti-drug commercials where an airplane would be showed spraying glyphosate on a poppy field. Nevertheless I was always attracted to its beautiful color and shapes, drawing them from pictures or imagination I romanticised them. Poppies are forbidden in Colombia, you cannot plant them in your garden and I came to see my first real poppy at age of 27 when I moved to Belgium. Coming here, I realised poppies have a complete different meaning, link to overcoming war, remembrance, “In Flanders fields the poppies grow…”, and they grow as wild and free even on the sidewalks.
A process of adaptation to a new land also holds a process or re-looking at things that opens new spaces of understanding: the way I looked at an object with my cultural and social construction, the way others, with different cultural upbringing, appreciate the same object and then the way I can see both perspectives and appreciate both sides of the symbology. In Spanish this serie is called “Lo propio, lo ajeno y lo apropiado.” Which translates “That which is mine, That which is not, and that which I Appropriate” In other words, that which I make mine. I have called this “Thuishoren”, To belong, but also to be able to “hear your home”.
“Thuishoren”, talks about my process of making Belgium my home and is part of a reflection I have been doing for two years, which I started with the mural at Permeke Library called “Thuishoren II” which explores the spaces that do not form part of my past and my baggage but are part of my present and little by little I make mine. The very fact that I learned Nederlands and feel free to use it and express myself with it is part of this appropriation process and it is showed in the book pages. The snail represents the traveller carrying his home and making sense of all the new symbology that another culture holds within.