Monday, March 14, 2011

Off the Beaten Path: Museo de Arte

We were trying to get to the Museum of Word and Image. We had a map. We explained the directions. But our driver on that day was just one of those guys who would rather ask for guidance from the kind gentlemen on the street than listen to the ladies beside him with maps and directions.

So, when our delegation arrived at the Museo del Arte we decided to embrace the moment and enjoy the art. We were welcomed into the museum with a blast of cool air, crisp white walls, and quiet. The first gallery space was filled with the blue of indigo and the white of cotton, the juxtaposed beauty of a resurrected craft and the history of agricultural abuse of land and people.

The group dispersed, each individual pausing at different moments, capturing different memories in their cameras, pondering images which both calmed and troubled.

I am certain that when we have compiled the photos from our entire group, the art museum experience will be well documented. As I look through my own photos, the images conjure up the thoughts I had as I walked through the cool and quiet galleries...

The god of corn - our first visit to El Salvador came at the time of the harvest, when every new friend welcomed me into her home with a steaming cup of atol de elote - since then I have read the histories and gathered images of the people of the corn; I looked at this little statue and could hear Julia's laughter and narration in my ears with flashback image of Julia with Bessy Marleni as they demonstrated how to make tamales, from the field to the molina to the pot for a little documentary that I made a few years ago...

A painting depicting agrarian reform done by Pedro Espinoza in 1935 - painted just 3 years after La Mantanza (the massacre of indigenous people and peasant farmers), this painting shows beautiful colors and rural life, with soldiers alongside the people...I thought it must have been the artist's dream; I thought about some of the small farming communities which had existed as cooperatives but are now struggling to find the right path between the rights of the community and the rights of individuals...

A comet-like, Sputnik-inspired sculpture - I thought about what a great inspiration this would be for the kids in our sister community, where there is enough trash in the pathways and on the hills to create a gallery of recycled sculptures...

A painting of two women - friends, maybe neighbors, pausing for a drink of water; in their hands they hold traditional bowls, perhaps made from morro shells. I thought about about my friend, Greasy.. that maybe in our hearts we are these two women...

Although the museum collection includes many pieces which depict struggle and suffering, these images do not appear in my collection. That day, for me, was a day of refreshment, and my eyes and my mind were seeking images of peace and beauty.

The museum has a web site with a video that might inspire you to visit, to walk through the galleries, and to have your own day of pondering ...

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