Posts made in May, 2014

Ecuadorian Painter Gilberto Almeida

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

Ecuadorian Painter Gilberto Almeida

Gilberto Almeida Egas is a distinguished Ecuadorian artist (1924- )  who has exhibited internationally and whose works are present in collections in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, and Israel.  His work spans over 40 years garnering wide acclaim, special invitations, awards and honors from as far away as Australia. He is the recipient of many recognitions including the Order of Merit Award by President Gustavo Noboa Bejarano, and the Doctor Vicente Rocafuerte Award  by the national Congress of Ecuador and conferred by President Guillermo Landazuri Carrillo; He received recognition for Lifetime Artistic Achievement during the 400th anniversary of the Spanish founding of the city of Ibarra.  Almeida received Awards of Artistic Merit from the city of San Antonio, the province of Imbabura, and the Casa de la Cultura in...

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Artists Diego Buitron and Gilberto Almeida

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Blog | 4 comments

Artists Diego Buitron and Gilberto Almeida

If you love art and spending time with those who create it; the northern Andean region of Ecuador has much to offer in terms of talented artists, fine craftsmen and craftswomen and their works.  More information will appear in other posts, but I decideded to kick off this series of posts by sharing a bit about two artists that completely ‘made my day’  during our tour visit to each of their homes.  I was recently privileged to conduct a tour to the village of San Antonio de Ibarra.  The tour would not have been possible without the help of Diego Buitron, a generous man who is a husband, father, self-taught painter  and long-time resident of San Antonio de Ibarra. Buitron’s works speak to the feminine side of nature as seen in has voluptuous and joyful female figures set amidst natural forms and elements.  His umbrella and bicycle paintings  invite people to enjoy life, and his paintings with simple glyph like figures and symbols give a feeling of being in touch with ancient archetypical beings and the source of creation.  He opened his home to our group and shared his gardens, studio, new guest quarters, and a wonderful lunch prepared by his wife Maritza. A great friend of Buitron’s is the esteemed Ecuadorian painter Gilberto Almeida Egas.  We were able to visit him in his home and view his private collection just a week before his 86th birthday (May 30, 2014).  At 85 he exhibited undeniable passion for his work and the liberating influence he has had on younger generations of Ecuadorian painters.  He spoke energetically of the work of the American ‘Action’ painters and his appreciation for the work of modern artist Vasily Kandinsky. He has exhibited and been collected internationally, and has an amazingly long list of recognitions and honors in Ecuador and abroad. Almeida’s wife and daughters were so extraordinarily kind and hospitable that it was truly an honor to be received in their home and allowed to visit with this artist who is still warm, witty, adept at expressing his point of view,  and who is known to have a somewhat mischievous sense of humor. The featured image shows Diego Buitron and Gilberto Almeida on the day of our tour, May 24, 2014 in Almeida’s private gallery.    ...

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Gotta Love the Parades

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

Gotta Love the Parades

What I love About Parades in Cotacachi are they are both celebratory and transformative, the sights, the sounds, the colors, and the humor always impress me in a positive way. You just can’t feel down whenever a parade comes around.  They are usually preceded by banners and musicians and then it’s anybody’s guess what delights you will experience shortly. The most recent big parade a few days after Easter lasted about an hour and a half.  There were beauty queens, traditional dancers,  Disney characters, cave men and women, small children dressed in animal costumes, Smurfs, teens in black playing air guitar and rocking out with a wild version of a grim reaper, Prince Charming, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, young folks dressed up like elderly people, and gigantic heads on tiny bodies. To celebrate or to simply enjoy being alive and able to laugh and feel great, it’s hard to beat a parade –especially in Cotacachi.  ...

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Blessings During Holy Week in Ecuador

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Blessings During Holy Week in Ecuador

Holy Week in Cotacachi is an excellent opportunity  to experience how Ecuadorians celebrate the week leading up to Easter.  It is a time of processions, prayers, music, re-enactments of the persecution and crucifixion of Jesus Christ and a time of deep reflection as well. On “Domingo de Ramos”, Palm Sunday, people gather on the steps of the cathedral with bundles of greenery.  Originally palm leaves were used, however in recent years there has been a  concerted and successful effort to discourage the use of palms because in the highlands of Ecuador palms are endangered, even though Cotacahi’s Matriz Park has a number of stately palms adding elegance to the main square which also is the location for the grand cathedral La Matriz and the city’s municipal building. In front of the cathedral flanked by holy figures which have been carried from their usual places in local shrines, a priest delivers a special service which includes the blessing of the bundles of greenery  people have brought with them. During the service the people hold the bundles high to receive the blessing given by the priest.  After the service they are taken back to the people’s dwellings places and are used to bless their homes.  ...

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Semana Santa (Holy Week)

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Semana Santa (Holy Week)

In South America people come together when they want to celebrate and honor the important things in life. Parades and processions are a part of the fabric of society that holds everyone together. Traditions which have been kept for generations are still followed today and are valued much.  Unlike North Americas who tend to hold individuality, material possessions and obsession with things and appearances above all else. It is a refreshing contrast to be able to experience the unity and harmony among people who place that which is greater than themselves above all.  People in Ecuador are religious.  For many North Americans who generally either have no religion or belong to churches which are un-accepting of those different than themselves, it is quite amazing to see and experience the routine practices of those who come together to honor God and to express their love of the divine aspects of life. Holy Week or Semana Santa is the week preceding Easter.  During that week there are always processions. Many of the processions feature a holy figure which is usually kept in a local church but is taken out during holy week and are carried on elevated platforms through the streets.  The figures are always carried on the shoulders of several men so that they are visible to all and are honored by being held above. These displays honor the saint or holy personage and they represent  divinity and the blessings received from the Holy Spirit. The featured image shows procession figures seen at the steps of the grand cathedral La Matriz in Cotacachi, Ecuador on Palm Sunday...

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