As one of the few verbal registers Cecilia Porras (1920−1971) left behind, this text is of important historical value. It came into being by chance, as part of a catalogue in flier format handed out at the entrance to an exhibition of Porras’s work held in 1960 at the Biblioteca Nacional in Bogotá. As such, the text was geared to those visiting the show. In it, Porras puts forth her theory of composition. The structure of this brief and efficacious statement partakes of the language, tone, and imaginative thinking of poetry. The artist freely explains her reasons for being an artist. Indeed, in these lines she offers a simple response to the question “Why do I paint?”: “I paint for the pleasure of painting.”
By the time this text was written, Porras had come into her own as a painter. This text demonstrates maturity, as well as the depth of her sensibility and the power of her artistic convictions. Her prose—with its arbitrary use of grammar, chaotic enumerations, and condensation of symbolic motifs—is striking. In closing, Porras formulates her own poetics: “This is my language. If only one person understands it, I will be satisfied.” It can be read between the lines, then, that the painter believes that there can be no art without a recipient and that the aim of the work is to heighten, by means of the emotion conveyed in the pictorial realm, the other’s sensitivity and awareness.
Cecilia Porras was one of the most active figures in Colombian art of the fifties and sixties, decades during which she showed assiduously in galleries and museums and participated in art events in Colombia, the United States, and Spain. Starting in the late forties, she was also involved in organizing and managing important art venues, like the Casa de la Cultura in Cartagena, and in social initiatives like the Colombian Anti-Tuberculosis League.