Monday, June 1, 2015
ART of EL SALVADOR
To celebrate the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero I thought I would seek out some art of that country and found a delightful artist in FERNANDO LLORT who is the national artist of El Salvador. He is a painter, sculptor, muralist, composer and performer. He is a much beloved interpreter of the best of El Salvadoran life. His work is a joyous, whimsical celebration of the Salvadoran life and people.
He is known for teaching the citizens of the small town of La Palma, Chalatenango, how to make a living through art. His style is colorful and often childlike, of cubist forms and can be compared to that of Joan Miró and in some instances to that of Picasso.
He moved here in the small village of La Palma some 30 years ago and is well known for being the founder of the artisan and pictorial movement of that village. In 1977 La Semilla de Dios foundation was born here. He got involved, teaching and inspiring the small town how to make a living through art. Now, 75% of the people in La Palma make a living from painting and artisan manufacture.
He was born in San Salvador in 1949. he displayed an artistic inclination at an early age, and after graduating from high-school he obtained an architecture degree from the University of El Salvador.
Upon returning to El Salvador, Llort found a tense climate of political and social unrest in the early rumblings of the Salvadoran Civil War (1979–1992). To escape this instability, in 1971 he and other young artists moved to the town of La Palma in the northern region of El Salvador, close to the border with Honduras. The simple life he lived in the mountains was a refuge from what was happening throughout the rest of the country, and the daily contact with nature and with the people of La Palma greatly influenced his art.
Llort and the other young artists formed a commune and utilized their artistic skills to earn income, carving objects in wood and drawing intricate designs on them, as well as on copinol seeds. Their activities inspired the local handicraft movement as they started the first local workshop, called the Semilla de Dios (Seed of God). This was incorporated as a cooperative in 1977, providing employment for people to learn and develop their skills. Gradually, more workshops formed, each contributing to the artistic atmosphere in the town.
Today La Palma is renowned for its native artists and handicraft artisans. Once the civil war began, however, he left La Palma in 1980 and moved back to San Salvador, but still maintained his connections with the mountain people.
In San Salvador, he married Estela Chacon and had three children. Here he founded a gallery called El Árbol de Dios (God's Tree) where he displays and sells his art.