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Ten Years Have Passed Since the Death of the Painter ‎Guayasamín, a Symbol of Ecuador

By Dialogo
March 10, 2009

Quito, Mar 9 (EFE) – Tomorrow the Tree of Life, in whose roots rest the ashes of the artist ‎Oswaldo Guayasamín, a symbol of Ecuador, will receive an emotional visit from the family of the ‎artist on the tenth anniversary of his death.‎ In the gardens of the cultural complex of la Capilla del Hombre, the artist’s architectural work in ‎honor of pre-Colombian America, stands the tree under which rest the ashes of the Ecuadorian ‎painter of faces and hands, who died on March 10, 1999.‎ Ten years later his work is “even more contemporary, because we are permanently searching for ‎reflection and a new culture of peace, and his paintings are a desperate call for the end of ‎humankind’s mutual aggression,” his son Pablo Guayasamín explained to Efe.‎ The Executive Director of the Guayasamín Foundation and one of the artist’s 10 children, Pablo ‎Guayasamín holds up as an example of the artist’s topicality the “Mestizaje,” a painting that ‎represents a young woman “with great strength and spirit, a mixture of the Spanish and the ‎indigenous Indian races.”‎ According to the artist’s son, from this woman “a new society is born” representing “the ‎resurrection of a new race that is more humanitarian and has a better comprehension of its time ‎that has values different from the ones we have and that is much less confrontational; instead, ‎better understanding and respecting the thoughts of one another.”‎ The Ecuadorian master, who used to say that he had 3,000 years of life experience, sadness, ‎and happiness from his indigenous people, found in the denouncement of injustice, poverty, and ‎disparity the sparks of his creations.‎ For that reason, and because he considered transcending the historical moment in which he lived ‎when dealing with eternal issues of human nature, his paintings, with energetic features and ‎occasionally abstractions reminiscent of Picasso, even today conquer perceptions and win new ‎admirers.‎ ‎“There is a large new audience that expands as the work becomes universal” because “it is not in ‎the same historical moment as when he created it, when it was associated with a political vision;” ‎but “is now extended to all people who advocate and respect human rights,” Pablo Guayasamín ‎stated.‎ For the creator, painting is not a labor, “painting is something different, it is like making love, it is ‎something I long for each day,” he said when he was alive, and the same passion he dedicated to ‎art guided him in his search for a common Latin-American identity and his preoccupation with ‎social injustice.‎ Guayasamín, which in Guichua means “white bird flying,” said that the “dark and violent” 20th ‎Century forced him to fill his pictures with “great sadness,” hence the agonized faces in many of ‎his paintings: denunciation of torture and human pain.‎ The artist, then 79 years old, suffered a heart attack in 1999 in a hotel in Baltimore (United ‎States).‎ On one occasion the artist stated that he did not believe in death, that “men get diluted but go on ‎living through their descendants”, and this is what his children will celebrate tomorrow: that ‎Guayasamín remains alive in them and in his art.‎
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