Guayasamin is one of my favorite artists of all times!!! He is brilliant with the intensity of emotions he puts into all of his work. They are profound ways of thinking but so easy to understand and contemplate at the same time. He layers on thick paint and every stroke is made in complete confidence. This is a painter who challenged the politics of his time and displayed the sorrow of his country in a most prominent way.
When I was sixteen I studied abroad in South America with a program called The Traveling School. It took a group of girls to different third world countries to explore the politics, natural environments and culture of those places. We flew into Ecuador first where I sat there in amazement with my fellow world travelers at the differences between the United States. We stayed up high in the mountains for almost two weeks and the made our way down into the capital city of Quito. There we explored the hard-hitting history of the country and its incredible citizens. My favorite place we visited of course was the house of Guayasamin.
His walls were lined with his vibrant artworks. Red represented the torture and pain that had encased Ecuador’s history. The screaming, mourning and strained faces, were calling out for recognition of the past. He had portraits of past lovers that kept the balance between love and horror. His figures that held whirlwinds of emotions, were there to hit their audiences hard with guilt, anger and passion. His painting to the right depicts the howl of his pain for the world to hear and acknowledge. He shows this figure as only skin tightly swollen to bone. In his chest you can see the red of his heart and lungs working harder and harder to explain the destruction of his existence.
Some of my favorite paintings I saw there were his depictions of the 7 stages of grief. The stages are: shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression, reflection, reconstruction, and acceptance. All of them were of mothers dressed in black and each one showed the effect of a child’s death on the soul. These were mother’s who had lost their sons due to torture that was started by the government. The hands of these women and their faces together perfectly and profoundly show the emotion that their souls feel. Hands have so much importance in how we communicate. Especially of how we express ourselves. In these pieces he has stated a very big politically statement through the relationship a mother has with her children.
When he went through an angry period in his life, he painted many things about the war, oppression and death. There is another series that is a close up of the hands with screaming heads in the background. They symbolize as well the grief of the mothers who lost their sons. He definitely does a lot with hands during this period, because they give so much meaning and emotion to a painting. But he does have more detailed paintings as well, such as this one over to my right. It surrounds the same themes of a mother grieving her son. The woman is trying to take her dying son back home with her away from the atrocities of war. It is about the strong women who will do anything for their children even in the face of danger. I think that it is also about women’s rights saying that women fought just as much in the war as the men did. If the men didn’t have them, it would have been different.
I really love his art, because it is so full of emotion. As well it is something I can understand more because it is so straight forward. I just think that splatter of paint on a canvas, although very interesting, do not hit me as hard as see the emotion that a human form can present. The mouth especially in Guayasamin’s paintings give so much truth to one of his pieces. The number of teeth shown and the openness of the mouth sink into our memory. It is so raw and realistic, yet clearly not. It shows what is inside these women and men’s minds. It is their deepest secrets exposed.
Although I did not see his more famous paintings at the art museum there, I thought that going to his house gave me a more personal look into his art. I was standing in the place of creation, looking a masterpieces that screamed the stories of their lives. I cannot even imagine painting this because I have not personally felt these things. I don’t necessarily want these horrible events to happen to me in my life, but I wish i could fully understand the intensity of these paintings. They are awesome, to me at least, but I really love this freaky kind of artwork. It takes more than just skill of the wrist. It takes your soul’s full exposure.
He has other paintings as well that are not as intense. He went through many different stages in his life and make landscapes, sculptures, portraits and depicted love. I did see a lot of his diverse subjects though I happen to get mostly on camera the freaky paintings that I love so much.
He made so many works of art during his life that are all, no matter what the theme, powerful in their own ways. He is my idle. I wish he were alive today to teach me more about his way creating. I am sure it is a brilliant and original process. I cannot even fathom who he was as a person. I just know him, through his art, intrigues me.
I will have to go back one day and actually have time to delve deeper into his work. I want t see everything, and learn everything about him. When I finally go back, I think I will cry because I haven’t experienced his beautiful powers in person in a long time.