Biography of Débora Arango Pérez (1910-2005)

Painter and watercolorist Colombian born on November 11, 1907 in the city of Medellín and died on 4 December 2005 in Envigado.

He completed his secondary studies in the Colegio María Auxiliadora in his hometown, and then in painting at the Institute of fine arts in the same city, where retired within two years because it considered that his instruction was very conventional. Disciple of Pedro Nel Gómez, Arango participated for the first time at an exhibition in 1937, where he/she exhibited a series of oil paintings, watercolors and some naked that scandalised society.

Two years later, he/she won the first prize in an exhibition organized by the friends of art society in the Union Club of Medellín. Colón de Santa Fe of Bogota held his first solo exhibition in 1940, at the theatre and then participated in the first annual Salon of Colombian artists. Later he/she took part in other exhibitions in the cities of Cali and Medellin, where again his works caused such social rejection coming up to ask the excommunication.

In 1946 he/she learned the fresco technique and studied the work of some Mexican watercolors. Arango traveled through Mexico, United States, Spain, England, Scotland, France and Austria. In 1955 he/she held a solo exhibition at the Instituto de Cultura Hispanica in Madrid, but the next day to start the exhibition, all his paintings were removed without any explanation. This led to his immediate return to Medellin, where that same year presented a series of ceramics at the Colombo-Americano Center. In 1957 he/she made his first individual exhibition of paintings in the Mariana home of Medellin. Later, in 1964, he/she exhibited more than 205 works in watercolor, oil paintings and ceramics in the Museum of modern art of Medellín and the library Luis Ángel Arango of Santa Fe de Bogotá.

It was the first Colombian woman who dared to paint nudes, something that raised a lot of dust, although perhaps not so much as his portraits of well-known politicians with animal (for example, Laureano output showed the coup general Gustavo Rojas Pinilla as a toad with medals). Despite the social rejection that produced his works, Arango received the Secretary of education and culture of Antioquia to arts and letters in recognition of his cultural contribution. Among his major works are the mural of the Colombian company of packings in Medellín (1947) entitled allegory the sisal farmers. This mural is currently located at the offices of the stores success, in Envigado. He/She is author of a series of works relating to the events of April 9, 1948 and the fall of the former President of the Republic, Laureano Gómez. At the beginning of the 1960s, Debora carried out a series of paintings to illustrate the via crucis in the chapel of the Betania retreat house, located in the city of Barranquilla.


LAVERDE TOSCANO, María Cristina, "A painter banned", in: thus speak artists, Bogotá, Universidad Central, 1986, pp. 35-54.