Tropical Path Part Two

Dr. Margaret Hills de Zárate


Vereda Tropical

Voy por la vereda tropical, la noche plena de quietud con su perfume de humedad.
I am going down the tropical path,
The night is calm
With its perfume of dampness

Y es la brisa que viene del mar, se oye el rumor de una canción canción de amor y de piedad.

And with the breeze that comes from the sea
The murmur of a song is heard,
A song of love and pity

Lyrics: Gonzalo Curiel
Translation: Maria Coelho and Margaret Hills de Zárate

The second part of this extended paper traces the life and work of the Cuban artist Antonia Eiríz Vásquez from 1968 (when she stopped painting) to 1993; when she left Cuba for Miami where she died in 1995. Drawing upon archival materials and interviews, her involvement with Arte popular and specifically one aspect of it, papier mâche, is described. Her activity in this area is contextualized with reference to the political and economic climate of the period and with reference to the support and recognition this work received from the Cuban establishment.

It is proposed that her involvement with Arte popular does not represent a complete break with her previous artistic, social and political concerns but rather provided a different route for their expression. As such, it is suggested that her innovative work in establishing Arte popular constitutes an example of cultural democracy which in turn provided the backdrop to the development of art therapy practices in Cuba and that this by implication positions her as a ”˜forerunner’ of Cuban art therapy. The term ”˜forerunner’ is used here as it is employed Ben-David and Collins (1966) and latterly by Waller, (1991) and Gilroy (2006) to describe how a profession develops from the interests of a few people, the ”˜forerunners’, who pave the way for a ”˜new idea’ to emerge. This ”˜new idea’ or path is developed by others who establish an ”˜interest group’ and so ”˜found’ a discipline; the ”˜founders’ then teach the ”˜followers’.

Key Words: Art Therapy, Arte popular (popular arts), papier mâche, cultural democracy, personal autonomy, revolutionary politics, Naturalistic Inquiry.

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