Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Art tour of Ecuador

Many people are familiar with the art, if not the name, of probably the most famous Ecuadorian artist, Oswaldo Guayasamín. He's reproduced here like a Wal-Mart picture frame photo. But the difference here is that the reproductions are done by hand, and perfectly. So even though Ecuador has its creative talents, it has far more technical artistic talent. What that means is that it has both rare and great under-appreciated art, and great reproduction art. Or said differently, it has really cheap, great art and also really great, cheap art. Here's a sampling of some of it.

This lines an outdoor stairway leading into the city center of Cuenca. Though certainly commissioned, it's not unlike lots of mural and graffiti art, at least around Cuenca.

A restaurant wall in the surf town Montañita

This is in one of the historic barrios in Cuenca and honors the tradition of ironworks. The larger building on the left is a museum also dedicated to that craft.

It is futile to prohibit complete and total access to any public space, and so much of the physical art seems inspired to at least accomodate, and often encourage, monkey business. This one has a Pablo Neruda poem in bricks:

"La lluvia empapará las piedras de la plaza, pero no apagará vuestros nombres de fuego."
"The rain will soak the stones of the plaza, but will not extinguish the fire of your names."

When it rains, the water pours through the tile channels from the volcano throughout the plaza.

I love this statue, and it's found unassumingly in a park on the other side of the river from the town of Gualaceo, 30 minutes outside Cuenca.

Some sculptures in the Modern Art Museum in Cuenca. And again, there's not a piece of dimensional art in there that you can't touch (and play in).

All this art just inspires us to create our own...nay be our own...art.

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