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Art Watch : Dubian Monsalve

Dubian Monsalve is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.

In 2016, an image went viral – gaining above and beyond 2 million likes on Facebook. It was titled -“Pregnant Mountain.” – the artwork depicts a womb and a baby within. It was created on a rocky mountain face in Columbia by artist Dubian Monsalve, in 2012. Sadly it went viral based on a false background story that accompanied this image. The first tweet about it claimed it was done by an artist who had lost in wife and unborn child to a drunk driving accident at this site. This was not true at all, however it caught social media’s attention.

Monsalve in fact had shared in an interview last year that the sculpture was inspired by the community of the area. And their ability to survive together after many atrocities of violence, death and loss that plagued the area in the 90s.

For the artist his work was “a tribute to “the woman that gives life, because life is valuable from its conception to its end.” 

Why Dubian Monsalve?

The artist, confirmed that he used simple, basic tools to complete his work, explained that doing so was a way to “tell them [farmers from the area] not to abandon their land and to not abandon their beliefs, not abandon their identity as Christians and as farmers who feed this country.” It was a way of forging a connection to the tillers of the soil – and giving them a platform as well.

Monsalve said that after difficult times, that the community suffered that included crime, violence and drug trafficking he wanted to create something to encourage farmers to return to the fields, and their vocation, decide to plant again, and started living in the homes. To nurture and be nurtured in return. For the artist it was like a a tribute to being born again.

According to Monsalve who drew a spiritual parallel – said that the image of the baby in the womb represents his Christian conviction that “life has value from conception to its end.”

“It is difficult to be an artist and to be faithful. I haven’t had a problem with being an artist and also expressing what I feel and think. Other artists do so, so why should I give up my beliefs?” he explained.

Speaking about the process of creatin the sculpture in question, he said that “Soil has been very important to me as a sculptor. It contains many elements and I used it to talk about life, because Earth itself gives life.”

It is unfortunate that a story was cooked and millions responded to the sensationalism – but what the artist had set out to do was in fact deeply spiritual in nature – and it was his way of giving back to the community, in the way that he could.

For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.

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