Marcelo Suaznábar was born in Bolivia in 1970 in the mining city of Oruro, located in the mid-western part of the country. He is the youngest of six brothers, son of Néstor Suaznábar Ochoa and Ana María Solari. From an early age he had a passion for drawing, motivated by his uncle Enrique Suaznábar, a professional photographer who lived in the same city. Focusing solely on drawing as the main vehicle of his creations, he showed a great interest in color from an early age. He began exploring watercolors, pastels, and colored pencils, and for a long time he focused on painting insects, animals, houses and portraits on paper and cardboard.
Marcelo Suaznábar developed a great amount of his work in his birthplace, the city of Oruro, located at more than 3,700 meters above sea level. The city was founded in 1606 and named “Real Villa of San Felipe of Austria”. Oruro possesses a mystical energy in its surroundings and has a strong folkloric tradition; its carnival was declared by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The cultural richness of the city’s cultural expression inspires creative types and provided plenty of incentive for Suaznábar to cultivate his work.
In 1988, he traveled with his father and Marco, his brother, to the colonial city of Potosí, located in the south of the country. They spent days visiting churches and museums, admiring the immense cultural richness expressed in both the architecture and in the abundant collections of colonial paintings. The Historic Mint “Casa de Moneda” and the Saint Teresa Convent were the source of inspiration that led the artist to recreate sacred scenes. The artwork Coronation of the Virgin (1988) marked the start of his series Sacred Art: a dark series due to the tonality and the artist’s yet vague knowledge of color. During this period he was invited to participate in a group exhibit at the Alliance Francaise and French Cultural Using works from the same series, he presented a solo exhibit in 1991 at the Casa de España, the headquarters of Bolivia’s central government located in the city of La Paz. He was awarded an honorable mention for his work Cart of Judgment in the contest: “Concurso Espana 91”
In 1992 the artist traveled to Chile. It was in Santiago where he attended and completed a four-month course at the Art School of the Catholic University with Professor Roberto Farriol. In 1993 he was selected for the exhibit, Four Young Artists, at the art gallery of the BHN Foundation in the city of La Paz.
Suaznábar sets his imagination free in his work and in his explorations. He examines the elements of the subconscious, and themes that preoccupy human beings universally on a regular basis, such as the passing of time, death, nature, sexuality, beauty, temptation, fear and religion. With each new work he undergoes a process of experimentation and learning what it is that he is able and willing to say, or contribute.
In 1999, the artist was invited to participate in the International Exhibit “II Biennale de arte visual del Mercosur” in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where the theme of ecological damage on a global level motivated him to make a series of artworks dedicated to life and nature. This same series under the title of Living Nature, Still Life was shown a year later at the National Art Museum in La Paz.