His Fa­tHer’s son

He may not be an artist, but Fer­nando Botero Jnr is mak­ing great strides as an art ad­vo­cate who tire­lessly pro­motes the work of his fa­mous fa­ther, Colom­bian artist Fer­nando Botero

Philippine Tatler - - CONCIERGE | SMALL TALK -

n many cases, the chil­dren of fa­mous artists usu­ally fol­low a sim­i­lar ca­reer path to that of their par­ents. This is not the case with Fer­nando Botero Jnr, who opted for a ca­reer to­tally at odds with that of his fa­ther, renowned Colom­bian sit­u­a­tional por­traitist and sculp­tor Fer­nando Botero. The el­dest of the artist’s three chil­dren with his first wife Glo­ria Zea, the younger Botero was born in Mex­ico in 1956. Not be­ing par­tic­u­larly gifted in the arts, he chose to en­ter gov­ern­ment ser­vice, hav­ing earned a Po­lit­i­cal Science de­gree from the Univer­sity of the An­des in Colom­bia.

His first po­lit­i­cal stint was as pri­vate sec­re­tary to Al­fonso Lopez Michelsen, pres­i­dent at the time of the Colom­bian Lib­eral Party. He was elected se­na­tor twice and fin­ished his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer by be­com­ing Min­is­ter of De­fence dur­ing the term of Pres­i­dent Ernesto Sem­per.

Since his re­tire­ment from pol­i­tics, Botero has be­come a staunch art ad­vo­cate who ac­tively pro­motes his fa­ther’s work be­yond Latin Amer­ica. In 2015, he be­came co-di­rec­tor of the land­mark Botero in China ini­tia­tive which has brought the artist’s work to art afi­ciona­dos in Asia. He cur­rently has plans of hold­ing lec­tures and ex­hi­bi­tions in the Philip­pines.

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boteroinchina.cn Many artists’ chil­dren fol­low in their par­ents’ foot­steps. You seem to have de­vi­ated from the norm.

Ac­tu­ally, I never had any artis­tic tal­ent; I’m sorry to say none at all! I never con­sid­ered the pos­si­bil­ity of a ca­reer in art. But, re­cently, [I have been drawn into art ad­vo­cacy] as I have be­come very in­volved in the work of my fa­ther due to the


What was it like grow­ing up with a fa­mous artist for a par­ent?

It was ex­tremely fas­ci­nat­ing be­cause my fa­ther is ab­so­lutely pas­sion­ate about art and cul­ture. Some fa­thers would en­cour­age you to play foot­ball or some other sport; but mine en­cour­aged us to go to mu­se­ums or to watch movies, par­tic­u­larly from the Neo-clas­sicis­tic era of Ital­ian cinema or the films of the great It’s been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that started around eight or nine years ago when we re­alised that Botero, at the pin­na­cle of his ca­reer, had ex­hib­ited all over the world with the ex­cep­tion of one key area: China. That’s when the

project be­gan. It was a dif­fi­cult process, but we were able to achieve some­thing ex­tremely im­por­tant in the world of art: to hold the ex­hi­bi­tion of the Colom­bian master’s work in the Na­tional Mu­seum of China in Bei­jing, the China Art Mu­seum in Shang­hai, and the Cen­tral Wa­ter­front Area in Hong Kong—the three ma­jor cities of China. It was an ex­hi­bi­tion that was truly amaz­ing in the sense that we had 1.5 mil­lion vis­i­tors—num­bers that are not nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with the world of art. That was en­cour­ag­ing as to fur­ther pos­si­bil­i­ties in Asia. That’s the rea­son why I now spend a large part of my time in the re­gion.

direc­tors of our time like Fellini and Bergmann. Grow­ing up with him in­volved the con­stant use of cul­ture as a way to ex­pand the mind and broaden our hori­zons. You are bring­ing your fa­ther’s work to Asia, a re­gion that is rapidly be­com­ing a cen­tre for art. How has this been for you?

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