The participating artists, four from Colombia and four from Spain, selected in an open call are: Liliana Angulo (CO), Jorge Fuembuena (ES), Carlos Irijalba (ES), Catalina Jaramillo (CO), Ana María Millán (CO), Asunción Molinos Gordo (ES), John Mario Ortiz (CO) and Jorge Perianes (ES).
Jose Celestino Mutis y Bosio was born in Cádiz on 6 April, 1732 and died in Santa Fe (Bogotá) on 11 September, 1808. He was a priest, botanist, geographer, mathematician, doctor and teacher. In 1783, during the reign of King Carlos III, he headed a thirty-year botanical expedition through the New Kingdom of Granada, which led him to explore the region of Santa Fe, the lagoon of Pedro Palo, La Mesa, Guaduas, Honda and the area around Mariquita.
The fruit of this expedition was an illustrated herbarium comprising 2,696 species and 26 varieties. This is equal to six percent of Colombia’s flora, or 10 to 20% of all plant species on the planet. This collection, which contains a total of 5,607 sheets, has been kept at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Madrid since 1816.
In addition, unlike other travelling naturalists who collected species in foreign lands and returned to Europe, Mutis made the area he explored a place of knowledge, training scientists and artists to work with him, with almost total independence from Madrid. The creation of the Expedition, Painting Studio and Drawing School, associated with the first public schools in Santa Fe and intellectual gatherings, coincides with the crisis of the first generation of Creole intellectuals in Colombia, an important cultural phenomenon during that period.
The goal of this artists-in-residence exchange between Matadero Madrid and Flora is to make a critical review of Mutis’ legacy and what this expedition has meant for both contexts. The project will benefit from direct ties between the Royal Botanical Gardens in Madrid, where the original sheets are kept, and the region of Honda, the location of the residences and Mutis’ expedition. The town of Mariquita, 17 kilometres from Honda, served as the headquarters of the botanical expedition, and the house that was its centre of operations, as well as the little room where Mutis once lived, still survive.