Imagine at the age of 24 being told by your adoptive father that you are the biological son of the world’s most notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar. Worst still, that your life is in imminent danger requiring 24/7 security.
For this is the bombshell dropped on artist Phillip Witcomb, on discovering he was christened Roberto Sendoya Escobar. The eldest son of Colombian Pablo Escobar, narco-terrorist and murderer of incalculable thousands. Phillip was born outside Bogota in 1965 to Maria Luisa Sendoya, an innocent 14-year-old, his father 16 year-old Pablo Escobar.
“Suddenly, all the gruesome images that haunted my childhood nightmares slotted into place,” he explains. “I also understood why the subjects of my paintings had always tended towards creating eutopia, exploring a peaceful natural world as I would want it. In direct contrast to the trauma of my past.”
Following a shootout by special forces troops in which only baby Roberto Sendoya survived, he was later rescued from a Bogota orphanage by Joan and Patrick Witcomb, a debonair mysterious James Bond character. Roberto’s name changed to Phillip and he had no idea of his true background, but it did not take long for his biological father to locate him.
Written/Pictures by Laura Stadler