Oswaldo Guayasamin was an Ecuadorian painter, icon of Latin America who is recognized worldwide for his capacity to communicate the history of miscegenation and feeling of his people.
His pictorial, sculptural, humanist and expressionist work, are marked by the three principal stages: “Huayacan or path of tears”, which relates his two years of pilgrimage through Latin America and its cities, people and the expressions of its communities. The second stage is the “age of anger” that reflects the devastating XX century which was filled with global wars and dictatorships where it shows the biggest expression of man against himself. The final stage is “age of tenderness”, which softens his work with expressions in honor to his mother, to all the mothers of the world, to the children and to love.
His legacy is the most important patrimony of contemporary art that Ecuador possesses, due to the telluric force of his work, the sematic color print, the themed committed that is present on not only his paintings but also in his masterpiece work, titled “La Capilla del Hombre.” In this place it is possible to delve into his ideas and the impetus of hope and equality of his work.
All of his work was handed over to the Guayasamin Foundation, created by Guayasamin in 1976, the foundation currently handles the chapel that was his great project, designed by the master, Guayasamin himself and presented in the 1980s to UNESCO, which considered it “the project with the biggest cultural transcendence of the region.” Many years passed until de chapel opened its doors, in fact Guayasamin wasn't able to see his finished work. However, when one goes through its spaces of perfect architectural harmony, one feels the intention and sense of pulling towards one's roots, the impotency of the author towards pain, humiliation, and torture in history, and finally the love that filled his life.
Walking though the spacious corridors where the paintings are mounted provoques a sensation that brings shivers to anyone who has a sensitive eye for art, while the misery of violence screams and the feeling of tenderness wraps. The human figures of Guayasamin misplace the forms, and segment the body, rebuilding it to form a lace that redefines what is human, transfigures it, and makes it value for itself, through the shocking pictures that came out of the brush strokes of the author. This unique building is covered with stones, similar to the ones in pyramids from ancient civilizations, this particular architectural piece has 3.600 square meters of construction divided into three levels and is one the highest points in Quito with 3.100 meters above sea level. This place is a monument to the Latin American Man and his history, it is the temple to the man that has survived the cruelty and torture of all forms of violence. What the “Capilla del Hombre” pretends to do is to enhance the importance of life above all things and the rejection to suffering. There one can appreciate Guayasamin's muralist creation, designed specifically for the “Capilla del Hombre”, under his interpretation of “La Pieta” of Avignon, deathbed of Jesus Christ, which is displayed in the Louvre.
In the chapel one can find the movable mural “Los Mutilados” (“The Mutilated”), described by Guayasamin as one of his most important works designed by him, and is the main part of the central dome, which has two million ways to appreciate it. In the lower part of the building is "La llama eterna por los Derechos Humanos y por la Paz” (“The eternal flame for the Human Rights and Peace"), to keep the conscience of humankind turned on, as a call towards the respect of man and equality.
Any visitor in the capital of Ecuador can venture into the historic and contemporary art of the Ecuadorian and Latin American culture in the “Capilla del Hombre” and the house-museum of the great Guayasamin.
Since 1976 the Guayasamin Foundation has managed the patrimony given to the Ecuadorian people, and have created a museum and appropriate exhibition rooms to show the work of the Latin American painter to continue to bring local and foreing visitors.
The Guayasamin Museum House opened its doors in November of 2012. There are anecdotes and part of the personal life of the master. Its privileged location allows figuring out the perspective from where he looked at the city, which is pointing in a straight line to one of its sites of greatest inspiration: the condor huachana or the “mirador de condor”, a rocky wall that is in the middle of Quito and the Rucu (old) Pichincha volcano, which limits the city toward the west.
His house was an important place in his life, where he enjoyed the company of his family and friends and even in some occasions the visit of world-renowned personalities. That is why his house was open to the public, to share his intimacy and the personal space of the painter. The local and global art pieces from some of the greatest leaders of the artistic world are also exhibited there.
It is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 t0 17:00. It closes Mondays and on holidays.
Entrance Fee: USD $6
Half the Price for students, seniors and disabled
Free for kids under 12 years of age.
Sunday is free for all public
Oswaldo Guayasamín Calero was born in Quito in 1919, his father was of indigenous descent and his mother, mestizo. He was the first of ten brothers. He studied painting and sculpture at the School of Fine Arts in Quito, in addition of being an architect, designer and sculptor. In 1942 he had his first exposition at the age of 23 and from there he began gaining recognition by winning awards. At the age of 23 he exposed for the first time in 1942. From there, he began gaining notoriety and being recognized with awards, and in 1952 at the age of 33 he won the “Gran Premio de la Bienal de España” ("Grand Prize of the Biennial of Spain") and the “Gran Premio de la Bienal de Sao Paulo” (“Grand Prize of the Biennal of Sao Paulo”) in Brazil. Guayasamin has exposed in all the capitals of America and in many cities in Europe, such as: Leningrad (L'Ermitage), Moscow, Prague, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona and Warsaw. In total he has conducted more than 180 individual exhibitions and its production was very fruitful in easel paintings and murals, sculptures and monuments. His most representative murals are located in Quito: in the Palace of Government, the National Assembly, the Central University and the Provincial Council of Pichincha. There are also located in Madrid, in the Barajas Airport; in Paris at UNESCO headquarters, and in São Paulo, in the Latin American Parliament.
He was close friend with the most important intellectuals and statesmen of the progressive world and even sketched some of them, among the most prominent are: Francois y Danielle Mitterrand, Gabriel García Márquez, Fidel and Raul Castro, Rigoberta Menchú and Caroline from Monaco. Guayasamin died in 1999 at the age of 79.