Acclaimed Colombian Sculptor Chooses Fort Myers for North American Debut
Twenty-three large works in iron are on display downtown.
'Brisas' stands outside the City Pier building on Hendry Street, now the home to the Allure sales gallery.
Photos by Jennifer Reed
Inspired by the precision of dancers, this sculpture, titled 10.0, is at the Downtown River Basin.
Earlier this week, under the cover of night, a crew of art installers placed 23 massive, tightly bound objects around downtown Fort Myers—almost like a bunch of pranksters pulling a gag on residents and businesspeople.
Needless to say, the phones have been ringing persistently in Mayor Randy Henderson’s office.
This morning, the big reveal: They are the works of acclaimed Colombian sculptor Edgardo Carmona, part of a traveling exhibit most recently displayed in Paris. This—yes, Fort Myers, Florida—is Carmona’s first North American exhibition.
“It really puts Fort Myers on the map,” said Sharon McAllister, the executive director of ArtFest and one of the key players in setting up the exhibition. She anticipates art aficionados will visit the city to see it. Even better, the works will be showcased during February’s ArtFest, a major show along the Caloosahatchee River that draws some 85,000 attendees each year.
Artist Edgardo Carmona discusses his work. Allure sales director Barbara Bengochea-Perez translates.
Carmona comes to Fort Myers compliments of fellow Colombians Eduardo Caballero and Abel Ramirez of the Miami-based JAXI Builders Inc. The exhibit serves as both a public art gift and a very visible kick-off to the sales of Allure, a 292-unit luxury condominium community to be built along the Caloosahatchee starting in 2017.
“We came to Fort Myers about 3 and a half years ago,” says company President Abel Ramirez. “We just fell in love with it.”
The artist with his work Sintonia, inspired by his father
The towering sculptures are cast in structural iron in Carmona’s workshop in Cartagena. There, he has designed much of the equipment needed to produce the graceful, intricate pieces then welded together to create the 200- to 900-pound characters. The artist is a storyteller. During this morning’s unveiling, he told members of the media, art community and city leaders about his inspirations—everyone from awe-inspiring dancers to folklore characters to ordinary Colombians to his own father, a mathematician who was at once attuned to the world and buried in his own mind.
You can learn about the inspirations behind Carmona’s works here (as well as see an exhibition map), but at the same time, the artist encourages people to view his work through their own lenses.
“You have the ability to create your own story from your own imagination,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.
Carmona’s sculptures will be on display through March 31. To learn more about the Allure condominium project, visit allureluxurycondominiums.com.