Thompson Rivers University

Expressing surrealism with fire, floods and rotting fruit

  Posted on: November 15, 2018

Ana Bayona Ricaurte works on her graduating exhibition–the final project in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts).

In her graduating exhibition, Ana Bayona Ricaurte built and destroyed three rooms. She set one on fire, flooded one and created a windstorm in the other—all in the name of art.

Bayona thrives when creating surrealist installation artwork. The work lives as long as the exhibition, it changes and deteriorates as time goes on and she returns to take it down.

After graduating from TRU in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts), Bayona took her skills abroad to Madrid for an artist residency. She was one of 50 artists from 23 different countries to contribute work in the pop-up exhibition styled after a marketplace. Leaning on the marketplace theme, Bayona used real fruit and vegetables, painted on a clear coating, arranged them neatly—then simply left. The work sat in the open air for two weeks and quickly turned from ripe and shiny to soft, soggy and rotting.

Bayona’s work during an overseas artist residence went from appetizing, to compost.

“It was like a time-process exhibition. If you went in the beginning, it all looked glossy, shiny and perfect, but throughout the two weeks you could really watch it deteriorate. I like the idea of creating surreal spaces, because they are completely unique, out of the ordinary and totally unexpected,” she said.

Following the stint in Europe, Bayona returned to Kamloops and began work as a gallery coordinator at Arnica Artist-Run Centre while searching for art shows to submit her work to.

Now she’s putting the finishing touches on a bonfire-inspired installation piece for the next show: White Lights, Dark Nights at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery. This work will be her third showing there and it’ll run from Nov. 17 to Dec. 22, 2018.

Ana Bayona Ricaurte would like to someday work in set design for film and television.

Coming from the bustling city of Bogota, Colombia, Kamloops was a big change. Rather than becoming discouraged by the smaller arts community in Kamloops, she chose to embrace it and use it to her advantage.

“There isn’t a huge arts community here, sadly. But TRU connects you with so many people on a professional and personal level. For example, I worked with Donald Lawrence as a research assistant. We went to Vancouver and met several curators there, so that was very beneficial for my art practice.”

Recalling the ways her fourth-year exhibition pushed and challenged her, Bayona wants to follow that path of constructing settings into film set design.

“My fourth-year exhibition was the most frustrating thing I’ve ever done. The water room was such a pain! Water is so unpredictable. But looking back and seeing what I had built over eight months is so rewarding,” she said.

Learn more about the bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts)