|Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
|The Lost City,
or the House of Asterion
48" by 30"
oil on canvas
The city in this canvas is my interpretation of Jorge
Luis Borges' short story, ""The House of Asterion,"
itself inspired in the age-old myth of a minotaur (a
creature half man, half bull) , who lived in a maze or
labyrinth because he was so "monstrous." In Borges' s
tale, the minotaur is presented as a noble being.
Indeed the minotaur tells readers his story in his
own words, full of pathos and clarity--- he is not at
all an evil monster.
I painted the entire city as the labyrinth described by
the man-bull in the tale.
|L a R e v o l u c i ó n
24 " x 30 "
oil on canvas
Collection of the artist
In this canvas, which looks like a movie set somewhere in Latin America, I turned to the story of
another "lost city" -- the city of my childhood , my native land, and of a whole way of life. Essentially, I
painted the day my sisters left the country as if it were being filmed by the movie crew in the left
I am the little boy in the center of the composition, getting a " p i r u l í " -- a sort of lollypop -- from
another young boy my age, the candy vendor to the left of the colorful candy tree in front of the lady
dressed in white. She is my grandmother, the two girls to the right of me are my sisters, and the
blond-haired man in the white jacket behind them is my father, with his doctor's medicine bag tucked
under his arm. My mother is inside the old American Buick, almost in flight!
The soldiers in green behind my dad are rebels of Fidel Castro's army -- I remember when many of those
soldiers would arrive triumphant in our hometown after the victory of Fidel Castro's revolution, and
how my cousins and I would run to see them on the street and shake their hands: they were our heroes.
They wore Catholic rosaries around their necks and looked like saints and holy hermits from some old
painting or church retablo. It wouldn't be long till some of those same rebels were obeying Castro's
orders to execute many of their countrymen before firing squads -- without a fair trial.
In the painting, the small green suitcase behind "me" on the pavement in front of one of my sisters is also
an important symbol. Two or three years after the Castro takeover, my parents sent my sisters to live
with close family friends in Puerto Rico, to wait there for my parents and me to leave the island . . . .
My sister's departure marked not only the breakup of my family in the larger sense, but a significant
turning point in all our lives. This canvas recalls the day my sisters left Cuba, each carrying a doll.
* * * *** * * *
Curiously, the painted setting of this family event is not anywhere in Cuba. For personal reasons a bit
too complicated to explain here, the buildings surrounding our family scenario in the canvas are in
Asunción, Paraguay. The scene, in fact, seems to be part of a movie set --- to the right, under the blue
carp with the dragon and the symbol of the crescent and star , are a blonde lady in white and a producer
with a megaphone --- great "theater director" friends of mine from Paraguay --- Myriam Sienra and Tito
Chamorro. Art (film, painting) and reality are one in this movie set "tribute" to my childhood .
|Out of the Garden
19 " x 25 "
The image in this pastel painting is entitled "Out of
the Garden," and it shows three siblings coming out
of one world to encounter another.
I painted this work based on a childhood memory
of the day Castro's "rebels" passed triumphantly
through our town, Camaguey, Cuba, to be greeted as
heroes. Sporting their guerrilla suits and rosaries
around their necks, they had the aura of hermits and
knights-errant. In this painting, one of the rebels
lures the young boy by offering him a own Catholic
rosary, presumably worn during the war in Cuba's
mountains -- a gesture full of religious content.