“La Fulminante” (The Fulminant). Magazine Gente , Bogota, Colombia. 2014
With her overtly provocative character, Nadia Grandos has performed in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Montreal and Rio de Janeiro. Her intention is to draw attention to issues such as violence against women and power abuse.
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When she was 13 years old, Bogotan artist Nadia Granados was called “La Loca” (The crazy) in her neighborhood. She would walk by the streets of Fontibón and she would talk alone, with the moon or the wind. “I used to enjoy it. At that time the neighborhood where we lived was very wild, almost rural. It was like a ritual. When people started to call me crazy, deep inside I thought it was cool, because it was a way of making me realize that I was not like them.”
Her legal name doesn’t say much, but her alter ego “La Fulminante” has become a celebrity in the social media and the national art world: She is blond, always provocatively dressed; sometimes she wears a small video screen –transmitting different types of messages– over her face or on top of her pubis. Nadia created this alter-ego so she could protest against many things: injustice, marginalization, violence against women, insecurity, bad taste, repressed sexuality…
La Fulminante is straightforward, frank, obscene, iconoclast, lustful. She dresses as a prostitute but she doesn’t want money for sex, she just uses it as a tool to draw attention to more urgent matters. “This character was born when I was studying at the National University. One day my brother found a blond wig on the street, I believe it was a mannequin wig. I put it on and I liked the transformation I experienced. I became a blond woman right away, and I dived completely into that institutionalized figure of the ‘femme fatale.’”
Granados claims her character is a way of protesting against a conservative country, that’s why it breaks the rules. “I was never the pretty girl; I’ve always preferred the role of the bad girl, because it was a way to vindicate myself”.
It is through La Fulminante –her videos, private presentations, and street performances– that Nadia has been able to perform in artistic events in Montreal, Toronto (Canada), Barcelona, Madrid (Spain), Paris (France), Bologna (Italy), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Lima (Peru) along with leading figures of the national art scene like Elías Heim and Carlos Rojas (who were both present at the International Art Biennial of Cartagena).
La Fulminante operates in curious ways: She always shows up suddenly, out of the blue. “That’s one of the things I like the most. I don’t have to wait for curators to organize an exhibition or event. I just decide that I want to do it and then I do it. “La Fulmi” –that’s how she lovingly calls her alter-ego– intercepts people, she shows up to anybody.” Granados clarifies that her character is not a nudist. What happens is that La Fulminante’s provocative suits –which would make Lady Gaga green with envy–, are sometimes subject to wrong interpretations. “I remember once I was on the subway in Sao Paulo, I was wearing a mini skirt and a tight top. Security guards took me out of the subway; they thought I was going to show my breasts.” The artist explains that it is never her intention to confront the authorities. “There have been some performances where the police showed up. I always obey; I’m not interested in being beaten or being taken into jail.”
To Nadia Granados “La Fulminante” has been a cathartic experience. Even if it’s hard to believe, this woman, with hard facial features and a clear punk-influence, has been a victim of male abuse. “I had a very bad experience with a relationship. The abuse reached levels I could not bear. That’s why I work so much with this subject. When you are living an abusive situation, there comes a moment when either you change or you stay like that forever.”
It is not a coincidence that the decision to leave the relationship happened at the same time that La Fulminante was born. Until that moment, she had always moved in the margins, filled with rebellion. She was an activist with various groups from the left, such as “Somos Sudacas”, where she contributed by creating posters and radio shows. Even if she was a professional artist she wouldn’t work as an artist. “I was disappointed with the system. I didn’t like having to ask for permission, submit a project, wait for my turn at a gallery, and depend on curators”.
Now, being 35 years-old and thanks to the visibility provided by her character, she has managed to live together with the system. “I decided to come to terms with my profession. I started to submit different projects and I won many of the competitions, like the ‘best web strategy’ from the District Department of Culture and Tourism”. In fact, during the following weeks she will be travelling to New York, where she has been awarded a grant to make a performance.
Put Nadia and La Fulminante together in the same room and you’ll have two sides of the same coin: The artist contributes with her body and her ideas; La Fulminante takes care of the rest. “I like the way her name sounds. It is incendiary, explosive. It’s something that comes from those little toy guns the kids use, it makes a lot of noise, but it doesn’t kill.”