Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ecuador: Guayasamin, the Artist

When I decided to make a return visit (my third) to Ecuador last month, I was determined to see it with new eyes. My first visit in 1994 was for the purpose of meeting our exchange student daughter's family and to see a place that I knew would be much different than Northwest Ohio. I came home from that trip forever changed.

Gabriela and me outside the front door of her home
in Guayaquil in 1994.
I got to see several different areas of the country on that first visit, as we traveled in and near Quito, the capital and Karina's home. But I also got to see the Pacific coast when we drove down to Guayaquil to meet Gabriela, the little girl that our family sponsored through Compassion International.

The second trip to Ecuador was in 2003, when Karina married Marcelo, and I experienced an Ecuadorian wedding. I got to meet another fabulous family in Marcelo's parents and siblings, who are Brazilian.

But this third time, I would be returning as a gardener. In previous trips, I did notice the wonderful flora the Ecuador has, even making Karina turn the car around when I saw a poinsettia the size of a very mature lilac shrub. You just don't see that here in Ohio! But more about the plant life later.

My mom went with me on this trip - it was her first time in Ecuador - and in addition to all the wonderful flowers and plants, we were quite aware of the art. It's an important part of the culture in Ecuador. Our first day there, we had a laid-back day, allowing for the adjustment to the altitude. Coming from 735 feet above sea level to Quito, which is at an altitude of 9,350 feet, it took us a couple of days to rid ourselves of the nagging headache. Breathing wasn't a problem, unless we were climbing steep inclines and then we were ridiculously out of breath.

The home of Guayasamin
Karina took us to the home of Oswaldo Guayasamin (1919-1999), considered to be the greatest of Ecuadorian artists. His home, built on a hill with a beautiful view overlooking Quito, is now open to the public as a museum, as well as the museum that Guayasamin began building while he was still alive, La Capilla del Hombre ("The Chapel of Man").


I wish there had been small reproductions of the bird sculpture for sale.  I would have bought one.

View of El Panecillo from Guayasamin's home

Guayasamin's work depicts the cruelty of man towards his fellow humans, but it also shows his belief in the potential for greatness within humanity and the hope that he had for a better world. It is a very distinctive art style and many have tried to imitate it.

Inside the chapel, which showcases his work

I love this dandelion sculpture, complete with grass.

Photos were not allowed to be taken inside the home or the chapel (Oops!  I took one!), but a Google search will result in many examples of his work. 

NEXT: Puertolago, Condor Park, and Otavalo.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow, how inspiring is all of this art. I also love the wall with the niches in it for more sculpture.

Colleen said...

Wonderful photos.
Thanks for sharing a place that I will never get to visit

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