With a warm welcome from a large audience, a tribute was held yesterday to the Canarian-Argentine artist María Amaral, based in France, at the official opening of the exhibition held at the headquarters of the Taoro Lyceum Sociocultural Association, in La Orotava, a centre considered of great heritage excellence.
This meeting, which the dean of the consular corps and consul of Finland, the journalist Juan Carlos Díaz Lorenzo, valued as “an embrace between the Canary Islands and Argentina”, stressing that “the work is full of embraces, friendship and love”, opens a new stage in the life of the artist who, as the Argentinean consul, Ambassador Luis María Sobrón, recalled, was a clandestine passenger in her mother’s womb when the family left by boat for South America.
The Town Council of the Villa de La Orotava and the Argentinean Consulate in the Canary Islands, in collaboration with the Taoro Lyceum, held an emotional meeting with the artist and the public, in which they emphasised, in the words of the president of the Lyceum, Carmen Leyes, the pride of having brought works by the extraordinary artist, from Champigny sur Marne, next to Paris, to the Villa de La Orotava.
Councillor Delia Escobar Luis, in charge of Culture, pointed out that “exhibitions like this open up another vision of the world and enrich the cultural offer of the municipality, which of course has renowned artists”. He also highlighted the role of Isidoro Sánchez, “because everything that comes from this ex-Eurodeputy has cultural and human quality”.
Isidoro Sánchez referred to Argentina, the country to which Maria’s grandparents and parents had to go as reprisals from the Civil War, and explained how the project to bring María Amaral to the Canary Islands to exhibit for the first time on the occasion of the centenary of her parents’ birth in 1923 was conceived, at the initiative of the journalist Patricia Almirón. He also applauded the role of the Argentinean Consulate in unblocking the arrival of Amaral’s works, which had been held up in Canary Islands customs, “which amazes me so many years after our European recognition as an outermost region”.
Ambassador Sobrón referred to Argentina’s role as a country that received millions of immigrants without questioning their origin, condition or religion, and that, in the case of the Spanish, they arrived in Argentina with the legacy of work and effort. He also spoke of the difficulties involved in emigrating or going into exile, which entail “an estrangement, a loss, but also a choice and a new bond”.
He also considered María to be an advocate of lost causes, like Voltaire, who advocated Latin American exile, which even cost her political imprisonment in France until Mitterrand’s amnesty. The meeting ended with a musical concert by Pedro Izquierdo and Danny González, which was applauded by the audience, both for the quality of their performance and for their careful choice of songs.
The project, which was the brainchild of Isidoro Sánchez, a former member of the European Parliament and councillor Delia Escobar Luis, was also conceived as a tribute to the artist, in her capacity as a defender of human rights, throughout the different stages of her life and her pictorial work. The exhibition has been supported by the Consulate, whose head, Ambassador Luis María Sobrón, was instrumental in making the arrival of the works possible.
The retrospective exhibition of María Amaral, who thanked with emotion the words of welcome, recalled that the exhibition is part of the centenary of the birth of her parents, and announced the presentation of her book “La pasajera clandestina”, next Thursday at 19:00, at the headquarters of the Press Association in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which covers her life trajectory, the history of her family, and her artistic work from the Canary Islands to Buenos Aires and Paris, where she always lives in the commitment and duty of memory.
The exhibition, which is now open to the public and will remain open until 1 April, from 10am to 1pm and from 4pm to 8pm, is receiving a warm welcome from visitors, both Canary Islands residents and tourists visiting the town of La Orotava.