Marisol Guttieréz was one of the 6,130 who braved the frigid air and cold cobble stones of the Plaza de Bolívar to pose for the photographer Spencer Tunick on Sunday.
Summoned by the organizers of the mass nudity event to turn up at the emblematic square at 3:30 a.m., Marisol, age 36, had no inhibitions to shed her clothes to be part of a “global experience” and in a city, which Tunick had been eyeing for several years.
Marisol was hardly alone, despite setting the alarm clock for 2:20 a.m. and embarking on a pre-dawn trip from her apartment in Bogotá’s north to the heart of downtown. All for the sake of art? one might be tempted to believe, but for the aspiring dancer, the motivation was more altruistic. “I wanted to pose for peace in Colombia,” said Marisol.
The event lived up to the expected numbers of men and women, even though some 12,000 had enrolled online through the Museum of Modern Art (MamBo) to be photographed in one of Tunick’s mass nudity installations. For his first shoot in Bogotá, and his largest in six years, the weather was obliging, despite a cold start.
Tunick got the “vanilla sky” he had been anticipating, since announcing he would visit the Colombian capital back in March. He even cracked jokes to the naked participants, soaking up every one of his instructions.
“I admire his work so much, that I didn’t hesitate to participate,” claims Marisol regarding the global track-record to the 49-year-old New York City based photographer.
The event was pulled-off with minor glitches, when several plastic bags carefully labeled with the IDs of participants went missing, leaving one naked soul to wander around the Plaza de Bolivar after the photo shoot ended. The photographer employed drones to capture the event from above, as a bright blue Sunday morning illuminated the happening. He even snapped some shots with his iphone.
For two hours, the naked 6,130 participants stood stoically facing the city’s main cathedral, Palace of Justice and steps of the National Congress.
“The ground was very cold,” remarked Daiana Rosales, a Bogotá-based artist who wanted to be part of the experience. “The silence was overwhelming. The photographer has us all hypnotized.”
Tunick’s installation opens a critical week for Colombia as the government and the official representatives of the oldest guerrilla group in the world, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) could officially announce the cessation of all hostilities with a bilateral ceasefire.
On Sunday, the government’s chief negotiator, Humbero De la Calle wrote in an Op-Ed column in the Wall Street Journal, that the negotiations in Havana “have been transparent, honest and conducted in front of the Colombian people and the international community.”
He also thanked the Obama administration, the U.S. Congress, U.N. Security Council and European Union for “supporting Colombia’s reconciliation and postconflict efforts.”
As Colombians await news from Havana this week concerning the end of the conflict with FARC, social media was abuzz this long weekend with Tunick and the striking images of his mass nudity performance.
“I feel like I bonded with the people,” remarked Daiana as she briskly abandoned the Plaza de Bolívar. “None of us got much sleep, but it was an experience we will all remember in our lifetimes.”
And voicing an emotion many more will validate if and when FARC and the government of Juan Manuel Santos can finally put an end to a half-century of conflict.