Esperanza Cortés


Watercolor, gouache, ink, and rhinestones, over archival print on watercolor paper on mat

17” x 15 1/4” matted

Signature on front, below mat

Here I explore the theme of injustice that is at the roots of the predatory gem and mineral excavation industry. While at a residency in Knoxville, Tennessee, I discovered that Oakridge was only 30 miles away. Oakridge played a key role in the development of the Atom Bomb and the Manhattan Project. I began an exploration and comparison of Uranium and Emeralds. These minerals look very much alike, beautiful but dangerous on their effect on civil conflict. Colombia my birthplace, has the finest Emeralds in the world. The mining of Emeralds was an important element in the continued colonization of the region. Emeralds have helped to fund the more than 60-year conflict which has taken over 450,000 lives and displaced about 5.7 million people.