SELECTED PRESS (In Process)
Issue 32 Apr - Sep 2017
December 11, 2009
By: Elena Iglesias
ABEL QUINTERO AND THE MAGIC OF THE CUBAN "GUIAJIRO" (Country-people)
All the sudden, as if by magic, Abel Quintero became aware that he was inside the world of Juan candela, the character from story teller Onelio Jorge Cardoso. he retreated to a farm in Pedrera to dedicate himself to the plastic arts. "I began to live with a group of country-people and I became involved in their characteristics, the manner that they confronted life. They would tell stories about apparitions as if it was real", said Quintero, who worked as a graphic designer for a Cuban company but who also belonged to the plastic group of Guines.
At this time he began to paint about his childhood in the countryside where his grandfather played the laud and violin. he began aware that he lead not appreciated all of that and he began to recall his life "That authentic country-person has been dying little by little. Is not the same. They were ingenious country-people with the great ability for poetry. That country-person with guayabera and polainas is lost. Today he has changed his for a cap. But my roots are there. "My mother was a country woman who loved to make poetry", affirmed Quintero, who is
presenting paintings his paintings at the new gallery of Nestor ans Aleksejs Leal at Calle Ocho. In order to immense himself in that dying culture, the artist visited the Guajiro Museum in Cabaiguan, where all the objects used by them are there but are unknown like the "excusabaraja", an artifact used to safeguard meats and cheese and the "anafe", a type of rudimentary stove."The myths continue to involve but I want to concentrate in those that form the identity of the Cuban country-people. There are people that still believe in the character of "cagueiro" of the Villas assured the painter. According to legend, the "cagueiro" could turn into a stone or animal and generally would make found of rural guards. "When they would wear a shirt, they could not change it until it was worn out into piecesand the older the shirt was the more magic it had. Some say the "cagueiro" was good, but in general it was infamous for being a thief of chickens”, said Quintero.
Within the country myths that influence his works is the mother of water, a type of serpent with horns that lives in deep lakes and that could be good and evil. Another famous myth is the Matias Perez, a man who flew and never appeared again, but country-people assure that they could still see his balloon flying to this day. Another legend is the Luz de Yara, which surfaced on October 10 and illuminated everything. The country-people still see that light in the sky, in addition to balls of fire. "The guije has been themed in paintings and literature and it is for this reason I make it obvious in my paintings", said the artist.
Another guajiro aspects portrayed in Quintero's paintings are the tenth, parties, traditional foods, manners in which they make coffee and the attire. "All of this is the basis of my work which does not try to recapture but only remember what once was.
There is a lot to say about small universe of guajiros that confront this world surrounded by technology, like establishing compensation for human's separation from nature, but werw they, even with difficulties, are able to live happy" assured the artist, who became emotional upon remembering the greetings he received from his family upon his arrival to Miami. It was overwhelming, I never thought it would be like this.
September/ October 2011
No. 4 Jan - Jun 2013