|Agustín Lazo - Gatos -1951|
With time in my hands, living in isolation with Niño and Niña, I like to navigate between my two native languages of Spanish and English. To those two I can add that there are differences between Argentine Spanish and the Mexican Spanish I lived with my mother and grandmother and then, between 1967 to 1975, with my Rosemary.
My concept of Mexico has been dualed into, before Rosemary, and during Rosemary. Since my mother was alive until 1972 there is some pleasant blending between them.
My mother was a learned and cultured woman who I believe saw more into Rosemary than I did when I met her. When we all lived together for two years, Rosemary and my mother were best of friends and it would seem that they saw in me the pajuerano I really was. This is an Argentine word that means unlearned and uncultured.
In our book collection this one has always been there, somehow with all our moves we never lost it although it is full of stains and wear. Rosemary had it before she met me sometime in early 1967. It is a 1962 first edition by the Fondo de Cultura Económica. Through the years I have glanced at the book’s pictures and never bothered to read it.
I think I am going to reverse that soon.
In Spanish we have the word inquieto which translates to
restless. In Latin America we use this adjective to denote that a person is not
willing to stay as they are and they want to enrich their lives with more
experience and knowledge. That was my Rosemary.
|José Clemente Orozco - La Trinchera - 1923- 1927|
Because Rosemary was hermetic (Canadian?) I was not really aware of her inquietudes of which in all our 52 year marriage I began to understand only recently was all there and particularly if I pried just a bit.
Because of her inquitudes we moved to Vancouver. She then told me we were going to puchase a large house in Kerrisdale because she wanted a real garden. Because of her, my interest in gardening began with hostas and then to all the other plants Rosemary was interested in. She did her best (a good job it was) to make sure our two daughters finished a university education. Throughout or marriage Rosemary was our travel agent and we went to many places around the world. I might have contented to stay put had it not been for her. She made sure our two granddaughters saw a little more of the world that was outside our Vancouver. This was México, Europe, the US, Uruguay and Argentina.
|José Guadalupe Posada - Despedida de un revolucionario - |
How was I to know all these years that by me being a would-be-artist that it made Rosemary supress her own artistic interest?
I should have known when Rosemary would tell me she wanted to go to the Mexican Museum of Anthropology with our very young Ale. In her choice of clothing, an exquisite one, in my opinion, paraded this talent to my face but I was too blind to see it.
I am now sure that she accepted all my wishes to buy expensive photographic equipment, even though we had little money, because is some way this gave her a chance to experience her artistic inquietudes vicariously. Without me realizing it I now see her as the muse that was my wife. I am a better photographer today and almost an artist because of this woman who was my wife.
I am proud that most of my portraits show hands at their best. Rosemary taught me to notice hands and other little details. She made me a portrait photographer.
By 2018, when we stayed all day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and then she indicated she wanted to go to all the other museums, that suddenly this cabeza dura (a hard headed idiot) figured out how Rosemary saw art and how it interested her.
By the time we went to Venice and Florence she had inspired me to use my phone in a way that forced me to see art on the wall in a completely different way.
|José Clemente Orozco - Los muertos -1931|
Finally after all these 52 years I have given Rosemary’s book México – Pintura de Hoy the importance I should have given it before. I should have brought the book to her and then said, “Let’s have a look at these beautiful images and compare notes.” I regret I never did this.
The price of the book in pesos is $150. At the time the Mexican peso was
at nine to the dollar. This means it would have cost her 16 dollars. I now
wonder where she bought it and why she bought it. Was she trying to immerse
herself in the culture of Mexico? Yes, for sure.
I don’t think I ever told her that when I arrived to Mexico City with my mother and grandmother that my grandmother was the de-facto cultural attaché of the Filipino Embassy. She was told to rent a large house in a lovely neighbourhood so she could give parties. This 13 year-old idiot was too ignorant to appreciate that Diego Rivera , David Alfaro Siqueiros and Dr. Atl often came to these receptions.
|Diego Rivera - La tierra vírgen - 1926-1927|
But somehow, in spite of all that, once I married Rosemary,
we lived a life in Mexico that included all that tradition of history, archaeology,
and art culture of Mexico. When I think of Rosemary those memories bring the smells of Mexico, the light of Mexico, the art of Mexico and of a life we lived together that in spite of financial tribulations was a rich one.
We went to many little towns in our VW to buy Mexican handicrafts that were only to be found in those towns. Rosemary adored her Mexican dresses and was able to wear her Mexican bird wedding dress until 2020. It is in our closet waiting for a new owner from our family.
I wonder if I can return to Mexico and not find too much grief and for me to live vicariously Rosemary's concept of life in art.
|Olga Costa - La Valenciana - 1955|
|María Izquierdo - Camerino pobre - 1940|
|Abraham Ángel - Los novios - 1924|
|Ricardo Martínez - Mujeres con fuego - 1962|
|Frida Kahlo - Autorretrato - 1945|
|Frida Kahlo - Autorretrato - Las dos Fridas |
|Frida Kahlo - Retrato de la Sra. Rosita Morrillo - 1944|
|Julio Castellanos - Autorretrato - 1947|
|David Alfaro Siqueiros - Madre campesina - 1929|
|David Alfaro Siqueiros - La cosecha - 1952 -1954|
|Diego Rivera - Niña sentada - 1927|
|Diego Rivera - El matemático - 1918?|