Posts Tagged ‘Guatemalan painters’

The road to Comalapa

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

The road into Comalapa is lined with murals on both sides. If you can, get out of whatever vehicle you are driving in, and walk the length of the pictures to view them from start to finish. The images depict the history of the Mayan people of Guatemala: from the bucolic pre-Conquest days, to the arrival of the Spanish and the subjugation of the native peoples, to the 36-year armed conflict that ended with the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996. The final paintings show the future of the new Guatemala: dreaming of education and opportunity and envisioning clean, running water straight from the spigot.

The murals bring Guatemala’s complicated and fascinating history alive. I was overwhelmed by the pictures’ impact and power.


Oscar Peren in Comalapa

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

I first learned of painter Oscar Peren when I lived in Antigua with Olivia in 2003. Another waiting adoptive mom who was fostering her daughter knew a lot about art, and lent me a book about Guatemalan artists, past and present. There, I read about painters from the town of Comalapa, including Oscar Peren. I was familiar with Peren’s name because a poster of his painting, “The Guatemalan Bus,” hangs in a bookstore in Antigua’s Square. I loved the picture’s humor and color, and wanted to see Peren’s work in person.

We hired a driver and Olivia and I made the pilgrimage to Peren’s Comalapa studio to meet him. The place was everything I hoped for: walls covered floor to ceiling with paintings, each one confident and beautiful and witty. I bought 3 pictures that day, which hang in our house in California. Each time I look at them, I see something more in the canvases.

This trip, we visited Oscar Peren’s Comalapa studio again, and I told him about our 3 pictures. I also told him how much my now 13-year-old daughter loves to paint and draw and sew–to make anything with her hands–and Oscar Peren nodded. He told Olivia he himself began to paint at the age of 3, and urged her to continue. He called Olivia, “La Futura.”

In the photo I’ve posted, you can see Olivia with Oscar Peren. Notice the canvas to Olivia’s left. It’s a self-portrait of Oscar Peren at age 3, barefoot and in a doorway, peeking in to observe the master painter who became Peren’s teacher. We bought the picture, and when we return to California, that self-portrait will hang in Olivia’s room. ~