Comments, Globe, In Focus, Latin America

On the roofs of La Candelaria

The people of this neighbourhood in Bogota and the nomadic tourists observe, by surprise, when they look up into the sky, the figures in glass and latex of Jorge Olave.



Sobre las tejas de La Candelaria_Jorge Olave
Jorge Olave

Armando Orozco Tovar


This neighbourhood, old and located in the centre of the capital of Colombia, is a sector that escaped the devastating fury of the developers.

Olave’s figures are all kinds of characters typical of the industry, transformed into life-size sculptures, made by him between 1995 and 1996.

Sobre las tejas de La Candelaria3The artist we know closely in the House of Poetry Silva, (a place he visited often because his workshop was in the neighbourhood), when the centenary was celebrated of the poet  author of “The Night” a poem that Miguel de Unamuno called a milestone in the history of poetry in the Spanish language. And Olave performed “The Shadow of the poet”, which set in all the walls of the town.

Since this was commemorated and celebrated with great fanfare in 1996, the centenary of the death of the national poet these silhouettes are like “a long shadow”, although many already have been erased by the passage of time, like some of the characters created and located by the sculptor in heights of the houses, roofs, windows and balconies.

Sobre las tejas de La Candelaria4Of these remain just a few: The man on the roof, Meliboea the reader, the apartment of Maria Mercedes Carranza (Meliboea living Garabito, daughter of journalist Fernando Garavito, anti-Uribe and exiled, died under mysterious circumstances abroad).

Among the most famous sculptures is the musician and actor Kike Vivaldi. And at the Chorro de Quevedo – a place they say was founded in 1538 by the Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada – there the Acrobat is juggling with bows on the old site.

His original sculptures also appear at the District Municipality and other public institutions in the capital’s centre.

Jorge Olave, once told me in his workshop, he had planned many more, pending the approval of new projects.

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100With a long resume in the country and abroad since 1970, the artist returned to the country after completing studies, to contribute with Samper Genevieve Carrasco (also deceased) in the recovery of La Candelaria, and the historic city centre.

On the 30th of September, Jorge Olave appeared, like one of his glass and latex figures, dead in his study.



(Translated by David Coldwell:         

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