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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Estelí art exhibition ..meeting the Colectivo de Muralistas

Back in Estelí for the third time today, sorting stuff out to head off on the road again early tomorrow morning. Peggy is all tightened and pumped up ready to go, not so sure about myself though... after so long out the saddle reckon my body might moan at me in the morning - heading for Condega tomorrow, then Somoto for a day or two so should be at the El Espino border crossing into Honduras Sunday or Monday... exciting!

Apart from sorting out money and food supplies was on a mini mission today to find somewhere to pierce holes in the seeds I´ve been collecting in Lagartillo and Miraflores so that I can make them into jewellry. Found a habedashery so I´ve got cord, but trying to pierce them with a needle even after soaking in water just isn´t working, they´re way too hard, so on Rudolfo´s suggestion I checked at the UCA Miraflores office, who sent me to the Casa de Cultura where I didn´t sort out the piercing question butcame across something far more interesting... art exhibition "Entre Murmullos de Color" (Between Murmurs of Colour) with some really interesteing imagery. I was wandering around it, photographing the paintings that caught my eye and writing down the names of the artists...

"El Carmen P Nuero" G. Acuña

"Entre tus Cabellos" Julio G Moreno

"Una Mirada" Sammuel Romero "Un día como hoy" Juan J Moran "Retardo (Ponchito)" Oscar Barreda Untitled, Monico Piat "Ruben Darío" Julio C. Moreno "Leonal Rugamp" Julio C. Moreno...when I saw another graphite image that looked really interesting in a room down a passageway. I could see one guy and heard him chatting so was feeling shy to intrude, but he saw me hanging around in the doorway photographing the "CMDAS" logo (a hand painting a hand holding paintbrushes) and invited me through. This was Julio Cesár Moreno, he was sitting in was a studio where some young lads were working on paintings that were small scale practise murals...I showed him my sketchbook and he and the other guys seemed pretty interested, especially as one of the lads was from the finca where I drew the Posa la Pila cascada in Miraflores.
Julio was one of the painters in the exhibition and also director of the "CMDAS" of the cool logo... and an even cooler organisation.... Standing for "Collectivo de Muralistas David Alfaro Siqueiros". This organisation of 16 artists was set up in February 2001 to provide a space for artistic expression and runs projects painting murals with youths and even school children both in Estelí where they´re based, and in other parts of Nicaragua. David Alfaro Siqueiros of their logo is one of the three famous Mexican Muralists (1896-1974), contemporary of Digo Riviera and José Clemente Orozco. Interesting my Spanish Claudio and I had been chatting about their work after looking at prints of theirs in the Mexican Print exhibition that was on at the British Museum back in London just before I left. Through a long-held interest in Frida Kahlo I´d become fascinated with her relationship with Riviera and come across his work... connections...
The CMDAS youth work is voluntary, but they are also given paid comission work by businesses. Julio gave me a presentation about the collective to take away on memory stick, and on that he showed me a huge mural done for a factory wall and another for a cafe, as well as some that I´d already seen and photographed on walls around Estelí. I was especially interested in the imagery celebrating the gift of water after witnessing the effect for the rural communities of the seriously dry conditions in El Lagartillo.

"Burbujas de Amor" Julio C. Moreno

The CMDAS style is that of the campesino Sandinista imagery, and in the presentation it explains how the collective aims to take up the elements and processes that have been developed in public art over the last 20 years, and to pass on that accumulated experience to new generations that show an interest, by taking into account the tools and artistic and technical methodology in their teaching process. The CMDAS aims to preserve popular public art and to consolidate collective identity on local, national and Latin American scales.
Feeling chuffed to have met him I left with Julio´s business card in my pocket, have a look at his blog if you get the time to see his process of working with kids to make murals:
I ended up eating dinner tonight in a really lovely vegetarian café that I´d recognised through the gates separating it from the Casa de Cultura because of the big empty swimming pool that the guide book mentioned as being ´oddly disused´... not so odd it turns out, Roberto the waiter who recommended me the well tasty veggie hamburger explained that they didn´t have the money to maintain it.... When he realised I was on my own he came and chatted with me until the food turned up and apart from grinning about Braveheart, kilts and bagpipes (same as the other waiter who brought the juice across and was also interested in Scotland´s independence) invited me to join their 6am yoga class tomorrow, apparently I can borrow a towel. I´ve been thinking I need to do stretches before heading off, and yoga sounds like a chilled way to start the day, so... why not?!

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