Guayasamín was born in Quito on July 6, 1919. Son of a Native father
and a Mestiza mother. Proud of his backgrounds, he creates trustingly
a portrait of the human and social differences as criticism towards
the reality that we live now a days in our society.
Guayasamín dedicated his entire life to painting, sculpting, collecting
and fighting the injustices of life. His death on March 10th, a
day of national strikes by indigenous (whom he spent his life supporting)
and other sectors of society, was a great loss to Ecuador. He was
one of our national treasures.
of Guayasamín's paintings or sculptures evoke an immediate reaction.
The strong colors, often disturbing images and forceful themes are
meant to make the patron stop and take notice. Since early in his
career, Guayasamin used art to fight against the cruelty of life,
violence and injustice. "The Dead Children", which is
a group of naked cadavers, was based on a brutal memory of when
a childhood friend and others were gunned down by a random bullet.
then on, Guayasamín would continue to use his paintings and sculptures
to combat "cruelties and injustices of a society that discriminates
against the poor, the indigenous, the afro-ecuadorian and the weak"
explains the Guayasamín Foundation. He never belonged to a political
party, but rallied in support of Castro and against the "abuses
and aggressions of powerful and imperialistic countries". Sadly,
the Ecuadorian Embassy had just convinced him to do an exhibit in
the United States, when he died in Baltimore from a heart attack.
Guayasamín Foundation was created to showcase his most important
works. It includes a collection of pre-Colombian sculptures (3,000
pieces), colonial art (800 pieces) and his contemporary pieces (250
works). In the contemporary gallery his most forceful works from
1964 to 1984 are exhibited. The Nazi invasions, the concentration
camps, Hiroshima, Vietnam, the "CIA sponsored invasions of
Panama and the Dominican Republic", and the tortures and genocide
by the dictators of Latin America are all expressed through his
eyes and on his canvases.
1996, Guayasamín had been working on a life long dream, the creation
of "The Chapel of the Man" a 6,000 square foot mural that
could rival the Cixtine Chapel. It was meant to be a history of
"Our America" from pre-Colombian times to the present.
This masterpiece was declared to be by UNESCO a "'cultural
priority". Saddly, Guayasamín was not able to complete this
Neruda described Guayasamín as "One of the last crusaders of
imaginativeness. His heart is full of creatures, earthly pain, oppressed
people, tortures and signs.He expresses his all and everything into
painting. Fashions pass through his head like flimsy clouds. He
has no fear of them". As Guayasamín rests in peace, he will
be remembered for all this and more - for his political beliefs,
his creativity, his courage and his dedication. While Ecuador is
being torn apart, his art will unite us for one thing - to mourn