Landscapes of Chingaza: an exhibition of paintings by alumnus Philip Juras (‘90 BFA Art/Drawing & Painting, ‘97 MLA -Master of Landscape Architecture) in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Chingaza National Park, Colombia, opened this past week in Bogota. Juras had the honor of touring the exhibition with Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos. The exhibition, combining Juras' passions for art and conservation, presents a unique and comprehensive artistic representation of this Andean ecosystem:
Chingaza National Park is located 20 miles (50 km) east of Bogotá, Colombia, at between 9,000 and 13,000 feet (2,700m to 3,900 m) elevation. It serves as a refuge for the richly diverse páramo ecosystem, a high-elevation tropical grassland unique to the northern Andes. Chingaza is also the main source of drinking water for the eight million inhabitants of Bogotá.
At the highest elevations of the park, the formerly glaciated landscape is typically covered with relatively low, warm-colored grasses punctuated by silvery groups of espeletia, an unusual member of the aster family. Lower down, as the páramo grades into cloud forest it becomes more varied with dense patches of chusquea (a bamboo) and an array of shrubs and low trees that host a wide variety of aerophytes on their branches. The lowest slopes are cloaked by the resplendent Andean cloud forest. These richly diverse plant communities host numerous animal species including the Andean bear, white tail deer, tapir, puma, and over 200 bird species.
Congratulations to Juras on the remarkable achievement of these resplendent paintings and the international attention for his work. We're very proud to call him one of our own.
Image: View Over San Juanito, Chingaza National Park, Colombia by Philip Juras 2017 Oil on canvas 42 x 66 in.