Arts & Entertainment

Giant watermelon exhibition pays tribute to Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo

Guadalajara, Mexico, Apr 18 (EFE).- An exhibition by artists from Mexico, Chile, Bolivia and the United States featuring 33 pieces of large plastic watermelons pays tribute to Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo, considered one of the pillars of muralism and plastic art of the 20th century.

In “Watermelons and Color: The Legacy of Rufino Tamayo,” on display at the University Cultural Center in Guadalajara, plastic artists take some elements of Tamayo’s works and adapt them to their style, the curator of the exhibition, Nancy Mayagoitia, told EFE.

The intention is to commemorate the 30th death anniversary of Tamayo, which took place in 2021, and at the same time to remember the generosity and momentum he provided to younger generations of artists, she said.

“It was important to pay tribute to the generous artist Rufino Tamayo was, not only due to his artistic legacy, but due to his legacy of generosity, he always thought about the good of others, and left us (from) homes to museums, created the Plastic Arts Workshop, which celebrates 50 years next year, in addition to supporting dance and theater,” she added.

Watermelons were the favorite fruit of the artist born in Oaxaca in southeastern Mexico in 1899 and featured in some of the most iconic paintings of his career.

Mayagoitia said that Tamayo put Mexico on the international cultural stage and it was important for the new generations to know his work and the contributions he made to international plastic art.

“We want young people and new generations to discover him, know what his colors were, his favorite fruit and relate it to their own knowledge of art. Tamayo was not just another artist, we call him the universal Oaxacan and the artists wanted to honor that legacy,” she explained.

The images on the watermelon pieces range from expressionism to the abstract, showing the influence Tamayo had on the artists’ work.

The pieces, which were exhibited for the first time in Oaxaca, are full of color and depict the pictorial universe of Tamayo featuring pre-Hispanic elements, the universe, human figures, music, food, landscapes and nature.

Judith Rios, a plastic artist who was a student of Tamayo, told EFE that talking about the late Mexican painter is synonymous with an explosion of colors and textures that were a product of his imagination but were fueled by the culture of his native Oaxaca.

Mexican painter and sculptor Siegrid Wiese told EFE that Tamayo’s work sought to capture Mexican-ness beyond regionalism, an attempt in which pre-Hispanic cultures had a leading role.

The curator of the exhibition, Nancy Mayagoitia, said that the exhibition could be seen in other cultural spaces in Mexico and that there was a plan to take it to a couple of places in Europe.

“Watermelons and Color: The Legacy of Rufino Tamayo” will be in Guadalajara until Oct. 17. EFE


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