Gioconda Pérez MamaniSaturday, March 18, 2017
|Bella Vista - Provincia de Buenos Aires - March 18 2017|
In my Buenos Aires youth (before I was 14) I had a few heroes. One was el Llanero Solitario (the Lone Ranger) and others were Achilles and Tarzan ("el rey de la jungla"). I had a special interest in Leonardo and I even built with balsa wood some of his models including his pyramid-shaped parachute. It never worked when I attached a little lead soldier to it.
Before I abandoned painting and sketching for photography in my later youth, I remember vividly copying Leonardo’s reddish sketched self-portrait.
You might guess where I am going here! It would seem that in some remote way the Mona Lisa and President Kennedy were related.
By the end of the 20th century the Mona Lisa had become almost a symbol of the banal. I remember that around 1955 when I was in Mexico City I made a cardboard waste basket for my mother that had La Gioconda’s image on it.
It was a most pleasant surprise then when my Argentine artist friend Nora Patrich produced a Juan Manuel Sánchez Mona Lisa for me on March 18 when I visited her in her studio in Bella Vista, Provincia de Buenos Aires. I was there for spring break with my Rosemary and my youngest granddaughter Lauren, 14.
Seeing the Mona Lisa by Patrich’s former husband, who died some 6 months ago, made me sad but happy, too. Our Argentine model M was happy to pose as another Argentine Mona Lisa holding a mate. Sánchez named his work Gioconda Pérez Mamani which links a typical Italian name with that of an Argentine one. He produced this work in the beginnings of the 70s. Because I was taking the portrait of M in Patrich’s studio I chose the work you see in the photograph that she calls “Hope” which she painted in the 90s.