Fernando Arias has lived and worked between Colombia and England for the last 20 years. Through video, photography, installation, live actions and cultural activities, he explores the human condition; from physical and mental states to cultural and social conditioning. Issues of sex, religion, drug politics and identity are themes present in his work. The outputs are often confrontational, creating a consciousness in the participants and viewers about the issues they face.
Arias has set up Mas Arte Mas Acción (www.masartemasaccion.org), a cultural organisation that generates projects to raise awareness of people from remote regions and deprived urban settings, revealing their realities, expressing their concerns and voicing their ideas. The programme includes a series of residencies on Colombia's Pacific coast, for artists to develop ideas, share their experiences and skills and learn from people living there. As the world’s third most biodiverse tropical region, artists are offered ‘respite’ from the demands of 21st century urban life.
Since Arias won the Colombian National Art prize in 1994 his work has been exhibited internationally. In 1999 he represented Colombia at the Venice Biennale. Other Bienials include: III Bienal de Bogotá, the V and VIII Bienal de La Habana, the II Bienal de Mercosur and the I Bienal de Tirana.
Solo exhibitions and presentations include: Eduardo H Fernandes Gallery, Sao Paulo; Videografía Fundación Telefónica Lima; Doque Gallery Barcelona; Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver; Gate Foundation, Amsterdam; Chapter Arts Cardiff; London Printworks Trust and Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow.
Group exhibitions and video festivals include: Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Germany; Planet in Focus International Environmental Film & Video Festival, Toronto, Canada; Stretch Power Plant, Toronto; Fluid Wolverhampton Art Gallery UK and Body PoliticX Witte de With, Rotterdam.
Awards and grants include: Research Grant 13 Salones Regionales, Ministry of Culture Colombia; 4 Prince Claus Foundation Grants, Netherlands; Necessary Journeys Arts Council England, BFI Black World/Tate Modern; One to One Bursary, Arts Council England/Live Art Development Agency; Grants for the Arts Arts Council England; Space Studios award; Individual Artist Award, London Arts; Scottish Arts Council Award and Colcultura grant Colombia.
Work in collections includes: Daros Latinamerica, Zurich; Victoria&Albert Museum, London; Museum of Modern Art, Bogotá; Collection of Latin American Art Essex University; Banco de la Republica, Bogotá and other private collections in Canadá, UK, France, Brazil and Colombia.