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100 Years of Guayasamín

23 August 2019

This year Ecuador celebrates the centenary of the birth of Oswaldo Guayasamín, the country’s most renowned artist.

Photo: Oswaldo Guayasamin - a self portrait (credit: Christian Mera Rivadeneira)

In a conversation with The Diplomatic Society, Ms Maria Soledad Cordova, Ambassador of Ecuador in South Africa said that Guayasamin was inspired by leaders like Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela. His work showcases the racism, classism and inequality in South America, very much like what was experienced in South Africa.

Oswaldo Guayasamín was born in Quito, Ecuador on July 6, 1919. His father was an indigenous Quechua man who worked as a tractor driver and his mother was of mestizo (mixed) origins. His mother, who was the subject of many of his artworks, died when he was very young.

Guayasamín produced distinct bodies of work in his lifetime, said Ambassador Soledad. One was Huacayñán which is an indigenous Quechua word which roughly translates to “trail of tears”.  In this series his work depicted human suffering and tragedy, especially the suffering of the indigenous people.

Then there was The Age Anger in which he expressed raw and universal human emotion, influenced by the political situation in the continent.

He worked on The Age of Tenderness between 1988 and his death on March 10, 1999. Over this period he painted over 100 works which he dedicated to his mother.

In 1976, Guayasamín founded the Fundación Guayasamín to preserve and protect his personal art collections and to provide gallery space to highlight many of his own works of art. After his death his work reverted to the Foundation. A visit to this Museum is a must says Ambassador Soledad Cordova, when visiting Quito, to experience the provocative artworks of this very talented, successful Ecuadorian artist.

Photos supplied by the Embassy of Ecuador in SA




February/March 2020








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