The Common Good
October 2004

Botero

by Rose Marie Berger | October 2004

An Artist Who 'Did Something.'

Thank you for the insightful article by Bill Moyers (

In Colombia, armed gangs kidnap Catholic bishops and priests, and the bodies of those murdered by the army, paramilitaries, and insurgents are hauled out of rivers by Christian accompaniment teams. It’s not a time to stand idly by.

"I wanted to do something as a testimonial for this situation in Colombia," world-acclaimed Colombian artist Fernando Botero told The New York Times. "They will be pleased to know that an artist did something about it."

Botero, known for his fanciful satire of Colombians through a unique style of "corpulent hyperrealism," has turned his prodigious talent to the theme of violence in his home country. In June 2004, Botero donated 50 new paintings and sketches to the National Museum of Colombia in Bogota.

"I was against art that gives a witness...like a weapon of combat," Botero said at the exhibit opening. "But in view of the magnitude of the drama that Colombia is experiencing, the moment arrived where I felt the moral obligation to give testimony about such an irrational moment in our history."

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