Roberto Marquez could never have imagined that his first visit would be to Europe. But when Russia launched an attack on Ukraine, it did not think twice. He took the working tools and headed for Kiev. Arriving in the Ukrainian capital took a bit of time as he completed several stops along the way.
“He flew from the United States to Italy because there was no flight to Warsaw. My first idea was to come here directly. But when I got to the Warsaw Central Railway Station, I saw that there were a lot of refugees, I stayed there volunteering for a few days and finished the work that still exists. “Then I spent another ten days in Medicaid, on the Polish border, and finished two more works there,” said the Mexican artist, a few meters from a huge canvas hanging between masses of concrete and twisted iron.
The site that Marquez chose to do his job is the remnant of the Irpin Bridge, which was blown up by Ukrainian forces to stop Russia advancing, and under which hundreds of people passed in an attempt to escape the bombing, one of the most iconic. In this new old war in Ukraine. There Marquez is now working on completing his own version Guernica, A work by Picasso painted after the horrific bombing of the Basque city of Guernica, whose 85th anniversary is being celebrated this Tuesday. “My idea was to go to Bucha and cross this bridge on the way. “It was one of the pictures I saw,” he said.
Marquez is defined In their social networks As an “artist”, a synthesis of artist and activist. “To do the work, I must first be on the ground and then collect the information that is around me. And I am always looking for a place where the strongest influence is. For this reason, as soon as he arrived in the Irpin district, he joined a group of volunteers who, after the withdrawal of troops from Moscow, distributed food to those who could not escape and remained. It has been under Russian occupation for more than a month.
“I also helped dig the corpses with them. One day a mother was waiting for her son’s body. It took us all day, it was very hard. You never know what trajectory you are on and you will come across these horrible stories. For me it was very important, because all these emotions help me to form mental images, which will be reflected later. Canvas“. Marquez calls the canvas “canvas” several times. And other English words sneak into the conversation. He lives in Dallas, Texas, where his children run a real estate company he founded that now allows him to dedicate three-and-a-half years to painting. “I’m a carpenter who one day decided to take a brush,” he says.
Marquez, who has just turned 60, arrived in the United States “just like everyone else, illegal.” The first time he decided to put the idea of the type of work he wanted to do into practice was in 2018, during Central American migrant caravans in the United States. “I identify with them a lot. I was three months old and in Tijuana, in November 2018, while walking on a wall [de la frontera con EEUU]. I continued to work on the border and some of the works became famous, many calling them “flags”, but for me these works are on the border of El Paso.
Then came more experience of “artivism”: after the murder of George Floyd by a police officer and the bullet in the back by Jacob Blake by officers, Marquez decided to join the protests and ended up being rejected. Work with Senator Lena Taylor, who was mobilized with Jesse Jackson. The building then collapsed in Surfside, Florida, killing 98 people; Then Cuba, where he went to find dissident artist Luis Manuel Otero.
Marquez bought a large canvas hanging under one of the first sunny days in Kiev at the same Irpin store. Damaged and has pieces but that is also part of the job. Paint with dazzling acrylic paints and whatever you can find here. “My idea was not A. Guernica So similar, but when I got to work, I found similarities. This is a transformed version. The original is monochrome and this work has many colors. There is hope for green because I think the Ukrainians are going to win and we have other colors, people who are now returning to their homes. When I came here, it seemed to me that a Ghost Town, The ghost town, now more cleaning is starting, there are people coming back and today we went to Mesa. If the situation suddenly changes, things will change with him. And then the colors have to change. ” After finishing this canvas, Marquez wants to paint another one in Bucha and then another one, which should be handed over to the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Source: El Diario