Carnaval Internacional de las Artes is one for the Mind
Article and photos by Pacho Manrique
So Carnival season is upon us and, as you’ve no doubt noticed, festive decorations rapidly went from Christmas to a multicolor carnival-themed explosion. However as a prelude to the city’s yearly highpoint, and before the city has no room for anything but revelries, there’s a final cultural event to watch out for.
This year, from February 6-9 and in its 14th consecutive year, El Carnaval Internacional de las Artes, keeps up its ever-increasing tradition of taking celebrated journalists, thinkers, writers, actors, musicians, photographers, filmmakers and artists of all sorts, live, to an equally live audience in a conversational format. While founded on the idea of the necessity of calling locals to an exercise of permanent reflection on all things surrounding the city’s carnival, its approach is mostly based on the fact that while cultural life in Barranquilla orbits around its carnival, it is not exclusively limited to it, but that it rather nurtures and is nurtured from every other cultural expression in the city.
Previous illustrious guests include The Newyorker’s war correspondent Jon Lee Anderson, writer Fernando Vallejo, writer/cartoonist Roberto Fontanarrosa, cartoonist Matador, actor/director Giancarlo Giannini, director Tinto Brass, Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra, Mexican rock star Joselo Rangel, Colombian rock star Andrea Echeverri, Cuban musicians Los Van Van, Cuban singer Omara Portuondo and New York-born Puerto Rican salsa legend Richie Ray.
This year’s version will give attendants a chance to meet Peter Webber, British director of the award-winning 2003 film Girl with a Pearl Earring, Colombian filmmaker Victor Gaviria, creator of films depicting harsh Colombian realities such as Rodrigo D No Futuro (1990), La Vendedora de Rosas (1998) and Sumas y Restas (2004), on the cinematography front. The literature assortment is represented by Peruvian writer, chronicler, poet and journalist, Gabriela Wiener, Colombian journalist and NY Times contributor Alberto Salcedo Ramos, Colombian writer Laura Restrepo, Argentinean writer Gonzalo Garcés and others.
Miscellaneous guests include Colombian controversial biodiversity expert and trans woman Brigitte Baptiste, Italian fine artist Enrico Mitrovich, Mexican photography curator Alantl Molina, and Italian actress Anna De Franceschi. This year’s musical selection features Cuban Latin Grammy winners and salsa stars Hansel & Raúl, Colombian afro-descendant Hip Hop group Kombilesa Mi, La MambaNegra funky salsa orchestra, and local duet Shony y el Hijo del Búho among others.
Entrance to Carnaval Internacional de las Artes is, as usual, free, although previous registration is necessary for events located in the movie theater venue to guarantee a seat. While the main stage will be set at Parque Cultural del Caribe in Barranquilla’s downtown area (Transmetro routes A8-3 Prado, B1, B2, R2, S2, S20 Parque Cultural del Caribe station), some of the events will be held at La Cueva Bar / Cultural Foundation ( Carrera 43 #59-03), Alianza Colombofrancesa de Barranquilla (Calle 52#54-75), and Cinemateca del Caribe (Calle 76 #57-61).
You can find each of these locations below on our map. Use your fingers to zoom in, and tap the top left corner of the map to expand the legend: