Friday, January 04, 2008

Carlos Paez Vilarao - Uruguayan artist

During my visit to Punta de Leste, the Uruguayan beach resort last week, I visited Casa Pueblo ( people's house ), the studio of the famous artist Carlos Paez Vilaro.

Carlos is a prolific and multimode artist. He is primarily a painter but has tried his creativity in painting, murals, ceramics, sculpture, films, cartoons,music, writing and architecture. Below are some of his paintings:

Casa Pueblo is a striking building and reflects the creativity of Carlos Paez. It is hanging on to the sea side of a tall cliff overlooking the sea. After entering the building at the top of the cliff, one keeps going down and down to the water level seven stories below.
He now lives in part of the Casa Pueblo and has made the other part as a hotel. He has designed and built it with local materials from the same site, with his own hands! From every room in the building, he welcomes and worships the sun, reflects over the blue waters and dialogues with the birds sitting on the bamboo stick roofs.

He has built a similiar building and a church near Buenos Aires in Argentina.
I was touched by a documentary film on him shown in the casa pueblo. Coming from a poor family, he emigrated to Argentina and started work in a printing press. He developed interest in painting and returned to uruguay. He joined the African band and played tambore. He travelled to Bahia in Brazil and studied the African traditions there. Then he visited Europe, Africa and Asia and Oceania. He had particularly relished his interaction with Africans. He has held exihibitions in cities around the world and has painted murals in many parts of the world. He has also painted many parts of women, who have been his sources of inspiration !
He is now 84 years old but is still burning with vigorous creativity. He has three Argentine children and three Uruguyan children. One of them was in a plane,with the uruguyan rugby team, which crashed into Andean mountain in 1972. While others gave up hope, he continued search for three months and found out that his son was one of the 16 who miraculously survived the crash and the exposure to snow and hunger for several weeks. They had eaten the flesh of their dead colleagues. He wrote a book ENTRE MI HIJO Y YO, LA LUNA in which he quotes Walt Whitman
"If you cannot find me immediately, don´t give up.
If I am not in a place, look for me, I´ll be waiting for you somewhere,
I wait for you, in some place I am waiting for you."
I gave him a book on India in Spanish and invited him to visit. He gifted to me a copy of his autobiography, "Arte y Parte"

more about him

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