A handsome man enters to the most famous nightclub in Santiago de Cali. The waiter said, “this is the first time anyone saw this tall, slim man with an angelical face, it was impossible not to see him”. The stranger awoke the curiosity of all dancers at Changó nightclub; all females were attracted to this gentleman.
It was night-time, the heat lashed the dance floor. Women’s heels went to the Salsa rhythm, the prevalent danceable music of this region of the country. Even the stranger, dressed in an elegant black suit, decided to invite the most beautiful woman in the place to dance. It was evident the mutual attraction for they smiled to each other, they whispered into each other ears; until the woman started to scream her lungs out.
That action made everyone to look and, this handsome man was not wearing his elegant suit and shoes anymore. This man had hooves instead of feet. The sulphur smell invaded all the place, and everyone ran away from the nightclub.
Two brave men went back to the nightclub to look for the woman who passed out after the event. Some say the woman went insane; some others say the Devil took her away; others say she died, and some others say the Devil threw himself to the River Cauca and disappeared.
It has been 50 years since the tale of the night the Devil appeared in the Changó nightclub as punishment for dancing during Easter. According to local people, “no one should disrespect God.”
Stories where the Devil, curses, witches, and apparitions in large estates, streets and sugar cane plantations give a terrific and dark sensation to tropical locations. All these disguised with tropical colours.
In a conversation between Spaniard artist Luis Buñuel and Colombian writer Álvaro Mutis, Buñuel said it was impossible to translate the cold and winter-like Gothic to a tropical land. As a response to such affirmation, Mutis wrote the novel ‘The Manor of Araucaima’, the first goth literary work located in the tropical heat.
In this novel, the Colombian art aesthetic was dyed with blood and opened the door for monstrous creatures, vampires and cannibals with erotic, violent lust to fill all artistic scenarios.
One of the said scenarios was a film adaptation of the novel. The Colombian filmmaker Carlos Mayolo back in the seventies adapted the book to film, a cinematographic piece that soon became the icon for the Tropical Goth, an artistic movement produced by Cali-born artists such as Mayolo himself, Luis Ospina and Andrés Caicedo.
Their protagonists were feudal lords who devoured workers, blood-sucking women, miserable vampires, who practised and forced others into exercising incests and strange rituals.
All this reminiscence was the breeding ground for plastic artist Samuel Bohórquez, who lived in the same neighbourhood where Andrés Caicedo met his friends. Therefore, the stories from Grupo de Cali reached his infant’s ears.
Also, anecdotes from his family played an essential role in his life, for it created in him the interest in the occult. Thus the urge to research the supernatural during his artistic career.
One fo these anecdotes tell how his great-grandfather made a deal with the Devil. In this deal he offered the soul of one of his relatives, to gain a fortune in exchange.
Many tragedies occurred his family after the said pact. Strange and painful deaths, grand fortunes lost suddenly, made the artist an eccentric person who has to go through the legacy of his family’s dark side.
Through his story, as a part of the Tropical Goth, Bohórquez understands that his soul does not belong to him. It is in line with the spiritual and the demonic, as he affirms that inside of him there is an entity, a Daimon that speaks to him, telling him how the artist should represent him in his paintings.
In 2007, the artist created a philosophical, exoteric movement called Daimonism. This movement is seen as an aesthetic language proposed by Bohórquez to redefine how a Daimon should be represented symbolically.
This artistic language uses paintings, objects and rituals to represent the astral entities each one of us possesses within oneself.
The Cali-born philosopher and writer Charlie Pineda gave the term Daimonist Movement when Samuel Bohórquez made his second exhibition at the Cultural department in Cali.
The concept of Daimon refers to a kind of intelligence that speaks to the artist. It defines an entity who accesses different scales of time and space. Therefore, this entity may be in present in any physical and astral space. It has a life of its own that one does not understand and can influence a human being life.
To understand the movement proposed by Bohórquez in Cali, one can track the etymological definition and its interpretations in a small timeline. The word Daimonist comes from the word Daimonio in Spanish, Daemon in English, which in turn comes from the Latin dæmon, which also comes from the Greek δαίμων (Dáimon.)
The first philosopher to interpret the concept was Socrates who defined it as “a prophetic voice inside of me, coming from a superior power; it is a sign of God.” He located it the Daimon within himself, a counsel voice who does not give the order, a mix between reason and Greek religious concepts.
On the other hand, for the psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, the Daimon is separated from religious ideas and defines him as archetypes: the Anima represents the feminine archetype, the male subconscious, whereas the Animus represents the masculine in a female subconscious.
Both represent our desires and our subconscious needs that our Self does not want to do.
Meanwhile, British novelist Phillip Pullman in his His Dark Materials trilogy, a dæmon is the soul of person externalised in the shape of an animal. this concept is similar to the construction of Egyptian mythology called Ba and to shamanic cultures that defined them as “free soul” or “personal animal.”
These persons refer to dæmon as a consciousness outside of the Self that talks to it. It influences thoughts, places itself inside of the Self but not in its exterior.
In monotheistic religions, especially Christianity, the dæmon is the Devil, evil and horned figure that influences people towards evil, to scare or to commit aggression against purity or goodness. In other words, the repression of desire represented as an amorphous and evil figure.
In this transversality between what is known as Daemonism philosophically and what monotheistic religions defined it, the pictorical and ritualistic work travel to show “my demons” the outside world, the artist explains. One can interpret the figure in his paintings is a frightening character.
The psychedelic colour palette mixed with religious, pagan, esoteric and fantastic symbols formed his hybrid Daimon with horns and animal hooves as the character of the Changó nightclub apparition.
The artist said that despite the fact Cali is the birthplace of Tropical Gothic, he felt alone in his Daimonist movement until he met the empirical artist Paola Melo in a cultural gathering last year. Melo presented her self-denominated “horrific” paintings for the first time publicly, for in them she showed anger, loneliness, sadness and terror through witchcraft esoteric symbols and ritual objects that she studied slowly through an extreme depression state.
Melo said that her artwork is a failed hermeneutic state and that only can be expressed through red and black, forming textures and spots that conform a figure who torture her since her infancy: The Devil.
Ever since she was a child, she saw a figure dressed in white with a horrible face. Hairy hands came from under her bed. She could hear the sound of steps and claws scratching the walls of her house. She also told about a family heritage where witchcraft and violent deaths were the protagonists.
In other words, her nature as an artist forged between the strange and the supernatural. These days Paola Melo does not fear them. On the contrary, she communicates with these entities, and she puts on her paintings what they ask her to paint. Her artwork becomes a medium, an organic way to produce art, which to artist Samuel Bohórquez interested.
With the efforts of these two artists, they convinced the State Library (Biblioteca Departamental in Spanish) in Cali to exhibit their paintings in the exhibition room in an event called “Daimonism’s macabre ritual.”
The exhibition will debut on November the 7th at 19:00 with a Daimonist ritual where both artists will summon their Daimons to introduce them to the public as an astral projection, for their physical representation was through paintings.
Also, Bohórquez said that Paola Melo would introduce her “Daimonios Aiwas,” the proper way to address them after she discovered that her entities talked to her about nature and the richness of the occult through shamanic or witchcraft knowledge throughout her personal life.
The ritualistic inauguration will take place in Cali, after 40 years since the first time horror and fantastic creature were introduced in the art of this Colombian city.