These and other biographical details come into play in the show. Guayasamín's close bond with and affection for his mother are alluded to in the early painting La Madre y el Niño (Mother and Child #1) as well as in the more technically accomplished, Cubist-inflected Origen (Origin) of 1951. And at a young age, the artist had the gift of empathy, as evident in his poignant 1941 La Cantera (The Accident), in which two muscular miners remove the body of a fallen fellow worker while a cloaked woman looks on, and in the grim tableau of Los Niños Muertos #11 (Dead Children #11) (1942), influenced by the death of his childhood friend.
Courtesy of the Schmidt Center Gallery
Scene from the Schmidt. Guayasamín's work is political — but timeless.
"Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamín." On display through December 6 at the Schmidt Center Gallery, University Galleries, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton. Call 561-297-2661.
But all these works, however well executed, pale in comparison to the more explicitly sociopolitical work, as the artist himself seemed to have recognized when he said, "I have painted as if I were screaming in desperation, and my screams have joined the screams that express the humiliation of so many and the deep anguish for the times we have had to live in." Guayasamín's best work is not mere political art but art that ranks with that of Goya and Picasso's Guernica, art that wounds and illuminates with its intensity.