Community 2 minute read

Who painted the Panama Canal, when and how?

At the Roberto F. Chiari President’s Library, the image of the Canal in the eyes of artists from Panama, the United States and Europe was discussed.

At the most recent Let’s Talk about the Canal meeting, on October 13, guests were surprised by the quantity and quality of the pictorial works that portray the Panama Canal.

Monica Kupfer, historian, curator and art critic, presented a tour in which, from Pennell’s lithographs, Red Van Hallen’s photographs and Van Ingen’s murals in the Administration Building, one of the most remarkable engineering works in the history of mankind is glorified.

Kupfer pointed out that before the year 2000, Panamanian artists did not paint the inter-oceanic waterway because they did not feel a sense of belonging, but that since the reversion of the Panama Canal Zone, new views have begun to emerge that appropriate this space, citing works by Aristides Ureña, Amalia Tapia, George Scribner, Gabriel Wong, and Antonio Salado, among others.

The talk between Kupfer and Raul Altamar, the latter a journalist, included reviews of exhibitions such as Trazos de un emprendimiento histórico, at the Interoceanic Canal Museum (2014), Arte y Ampliación (2017) and República canalera: Luces y sombras de una utopía tropical (2016) at the Allegro gallery. In addition, the works of Fernando Toledo, present at the library, were highlighted.

“I find myself in a conflict when thinking about the Canal Zone, because coming from Veraguas, here we artists could not enter,” said artist Aristides Ureña Ramos at the end of the event.

Each meeting opens a door to dialogue about the most precious asset of Panamanians, their Canal.

“These meetings stimulate the culture of Panamanians; I have loved them. I am enthusiastic about the information exposed and I will come to investigate for my projects.” Fernando Bocanegra, photographer.

“The meeting was very pleasant. I am very curious about the library’s collection”. Patricia Vlieg, artist.

“I really enjoyed learning about Anton Rajer’s donation; it is full of very interesting information about his mixtures”. Giana de Dier, artist.

“I came to accompany a friend and I was very surprised to learn about the early works on the Canal”. Coqui Calderón, painter and sculptor.

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