Palacio Nacional shopping center, located in the heart of Medellín, is not just a place to buy shoes and clothes, but also a hub of art and culture. The building, which is 90 years old, was a place where you could buy shoes and clothes. Today, the last three floors of the building host 45 art galleries and 20 exhibition rooms, displaying more than 1,500 works of art, including sculptures, paintings, and drawings.
The decision to transform the warehouses into spaces for art was made by Sociedad Hacienda El Portal, who manage El Palacio. The exhibition was organized by the painter and sculptor José Cirilo Henao, and around 50 artists have signed a 15-month contract to display their works. However, every two months, the pieces in the four main rooms will be changed for collective and traveling exhibitions.
Touring the Art Galleries
Upon entering the Palacio Nacional shopping center, visitors can start their art journey on the fifth floor. The corridor on this floor is home to two giant purple cats made of fiberglass and painted by master Jorge Vélez.
Room 535 houses a bronze colt sculpture by the master Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt, weighing 80 kilos, standing on one leg in the air, which seems to be neighing. There are only three pieces of this sculpture, and the one in the Palace belongs to the collector Bernardo Rivera.
The same room also displays a painting of Colombian athlete Catherine Ibargüen, who is taking a leap, painted by artist David Silva using the spatula technique. Next to it are three abstract paintings by painter and sculptor Álvaro Daza in gray scale with some blue.
Moving along the corridor, visitors can explore the other 19 rooms on the fifth floor, which exhibit the artistic context of Colombia and other Latin American countries.
On the fourth floor, visitors can see Péndulo, a work by Juan José Cobos. This Santander sculptor has created a naked man over 3 meters tall, suspended in the air with open arms. Gallery number 421 displays five large-scale paintings by the master Fernando Fernández and a yellow work called Rising Sun by the sculptor Édgar Negret.
The third floor hosts only one gallery named Adriana Gómez, after the wife of painter Jorge Botero Luján. The space features white walls illuminated by a purple neon light. Jorge exhibits several series made in oil on canvas, including City Ghosts, which shows the loneliness and heaviness of cities. Visitors can also see five large-scale paintings of a couple dancing tango.
Art from Top to Bottom
After exploring the fifth and fourth floors, visitors can head down to the room with 44 galleries on the third floor, which brings together the artistic context of Colombia and other Latin American countries.
Before leaving the Palacio Nacional shopping center, visitors should not miss the gigantic guitar made of mirror steel by the artist José Cirilo Henao, paying tribute to Colombian music.