A group of Canadian filmmakers are releasing a movie on La Dany, the Medellin transvestite street artist that makes Andy Warhol look like a boring heterosexual. The film will see its first screening in Colombia’s second largest city on Tuesday.
The film shows the daily life of downtown Medellin through the eyes of the city’s most famous street artist, La Dany. This transgendered whirlwind is well-known in every neighborhood of Medellin because of her extravagant, controversial and highly energetic act.
The movie’s director Jim Giles’s first encounter with La Dany was in January 2007 when a friend took him to Colombia to show him what the country was really like. Giles didn’t understand a word of Dany’s show, “but it was creative and she knew how to engage her audience.” What surprised the filmmaker even more was that every week La Dany knew just how to draw 300 people to her show in Medellin’s Bolivar Park despite harassment by the police and no support from the local government.
In the film, the city’s culture secretary discusses Medellin’s investment in culture and art as a means to stop the violence. However, as the movie demonstrates, Medellin’s most popular artist after Juanes collects cardboard and other recyclables to make ends meet.
“The government doesn’t see La Dany as an artist but as one of many people trying to make money in the street,” says the director. The government isn’t entirely wrong in that. Along with La Dany, thousands of paisas try to make a living juggling, performing as living statues or painting. What the culture department seems to miss is the quality of La Dany’s work. The stage may be the street, but the performance has outgrown many works of Medellin’s contemporary art.
‘La Dany: The Movie’ does not just show the beauty of Medellin, its people, its colors and its sounds, it shows how La Dany, through tireless efforts, is one of Medellin’s most influential artists. Even after decades of performing she has not stopped enriching Medellin’s culture in a way very few have been able to do. Through the movie, La Dany partially receives the recognition she deserves. Here’s hoping to La Dany’s greatest wish, a statue of herself in Bolivar Park.
‘La Dany, the movie’ premieres Tuesday at 6:30PM in Teatro Lido in Parque Bolivar.