6/19/2014

Cityscapes: Oswaldo Guayasamín

Roger Brown has recommended that we look at the work of Oswaldo Guayasamín (Ecuadorian, 1919-1999) for the current theme of the cityscape. Guayasamín's paintings often capture the political oppression and severe divisions between the classes in Ecuador as well as in the rest of South America. In discussing Guayasamín's series of paintings of his native Quito, Roger says:
I find some of Guayasamin's work to be heavy and unsubtle but I do like these long-view Quito landscapes. I think he captures the impressive atmosphere of the jagged mountains surrounding the city. I think he was better earlier in his career before he became famous.

I remember seeing a photo of Guayasamín working on "Bloody Quito" in National Geographic when I was in 8th grade. He was on the side of a mountain road looking down on the city. I think there was a miliary government in Ecuador at the time and he was protesting them by showing the city streets running with blood. Ecuador is usually a democracy but because of poor literacy in the past people often elected someone president who was not really competant to do the job.  
There is not much reliable information online regarding these works by Guayasamín, so only the titles are listed here, without sizes or dates.


Quito Sangriente (Bloody Quito)

Paisage de Quito (Quito Landscape)

Quito Noir (Black Quito)

Joel Day, a professional photographer (and my brother), recently went on a six-month sabbatical trip around the world, and Quito was one of his destinations. His photograph of Quito, with its orange rooftops and surrounding mountains, makes an interesting counterpoint to Oswaldo Guayasamín's views of the same city:

Quito 
(photo credit Joel Day)

  Oswaldo Guayasamín 1990 

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