The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This text is Colombian critic Rafael Azula Barrera’s response to Darío Samper’s article on the difference between generations. While Azula Barrera recognizes to a certain extent the legitimacy of Samper’s criticism of earlier generations, he adds that their position must be understood in the framework of the violence and unrest that seized Colombia at the end of the century. After reviewing what he considers a fruitless adherence to European tendencies (such as Romanticism), Azula states that, though he is somewhat sympathetic to Samper’s position, he does not believe it prudent to effect a radical break from European influences. He argues that it must be possible to combine European and local influences, bearing in mind that the lack of solid artistic groundwork makes it hard to construct “the edifice of the indigenous.”
Both the text by Colombian journalist and critic Darío Samper (1909–1984) and the response by Rafael Azula Barrera (1912?1998) evidence an important debate that took place among Colombian intellectuals on the need to reexamine the approach to both the visual arts and literature.
To heed the Americanist message from other countries meant looking at Colombian art from a different perspective. A polarized debate ensued between those who advocated a break with European models and those who questioned nationalist positions, encouraging works that did not lose sight of cultural diversity. It was not a question of an unflinching defense of Indianism, but of making way for a reflexive nationalism receptive to mestizaje. It was in the context of these debates that groups like Bachué (created in 1930)—whose founding members included Samper and Azula—emerged.