This document registers Los novísimos colombianos, the first international exhibition of new art organized by Argentine art critic Marta Traba (1923–1983) in 1969, after she left Colombia where she had lived since the early fifties. The exhibition, which was held in June 1977, provided the Venezuelan capital with an opportunity to come into contact with the new names in Colombian art and thus establish correlations between the two countries.
The group of artists Traba selected for the show included some internationally known Colombian artists such as Darío Morales (1944-1988), Saturnino Ramírez (1946-2002), and Luis Caballero (1943-95), as well as other younger artists known only in Colombia, such as Félix Ángel (b. 1949), Ever Astudillo (b. 1948), Antonio Caro [Lopera] (b. 1950), John Castles (b. 1946), María de la Paz Jaramillo (b. 1948), Oscar Jaramillo (b. 1947), Phanor León (1944-2006), Oscar Muñoz (b. 1951), Miguel Ángel Rojas (b. 1946), Juan Camilo Uribe (1945-2005), Mariana Varela (b. 1947), Gustavo Zalamea (b. 1951), and Hugo Zapata (b. 1945); the show also included Mónica Meira, an Argentine-born artist who lived in Colombia.
Marta Traba did not find common ground in new production from the two neighboring countries because, from her perspective, in Venezuela younger artists were reacting against the norms imposed by the local strain of Kinetic art; in Colombia, on the other hand, figuration still prevailed, as did Pop art and Hyperrealism, which—Trabas asserts—were being explored with a sense of mistrust and ingenuity.
“The province has ceased to exist” in Colombia, Traba states. “It has disappeared as parochial vision, afflicted behavior, and ignorance of the outside world. It has been replaced by regional pride based on an analysis of local cultural resources.” With this formulation, Traba returns to the idea of the province presented in her lecture “La cultura de la resistencia” (Seminar on Romance Languages at the University of Bonn, West Germany, 1973). On that occasion, Traba argued that Latin American artists have “opted for the province, underdevelopment, local themes, outright condemnation of the universality and passing trends [in favor of] pride in their identity.”