Jan 5, 2014


The new year brings with it so many changes, within and without, internal and external.  2014 promises to be a year of travel and art in combination... what a mezcla perfecta! Also a year of activism, of making more art that brings awareness, of honoring those who have come before and shown us the courage and strength it takes to use la voz

Today, as I awoke to the singing birds and blue skies of la Antigua, Guatemala, I was surprised to open La Prensa Libre to find a 2-pg. spread about the disappeared poet and writer Alaide Foppa, who would be turning 100 yrs. old this year. 

Six years ago I made my first homage to her, a huipil sculpture using one of her poems in spanish on one side, english the other. 

Huipil sculpture for Alaide Foppa, 8x13", paper, wax,
wire, wood, 2009


She feels sometimes like a thing forgotten
in the dark corner of the house
as the fruit eaten indoors by birds of prey,
like shade without face or weight.
Their presence is barely slight vibration
in still air. 
She feels they exchange glances
And they become fog between the clumsy arms who try to surround her. 
She would like to be 
a juicy orange in the hand of a child
-empty noncrust an image that 
shines in the mirror - nonshade that
disappears and a clear voice -
nonheavy silence sometimes heard.

Born in Barcelona in 1914, to a Argentine father and a Guatemalan mother, Foppa spent much of her youth in Italy. She met and married a Guatemalan politician, Alfonso Solórzano, and became a citizen of that country until they and their children exiled to Mexico after the 1954 coup.

In Mexico, Foppa became professor at UNAM, offering the first course in the sociology of women ever taught at a Latin American university. She was co-founder of fem, the first feminist journal in Latin America, and produced over 400 radio programs on "foro de mujeres", the women's forum.

When she went to Guatemala to visit family in Dec. 1980, she was disappeared, just weeks after her 67th birthday. This last December, just before my own 67th birthday, I completed this homage huipil for her.

UNA FRUTA PROHIBIDA, huipil tribute to Alaide Foppa, mixed media. 2013
Collection of Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, La Antigua, Guatemala


Suelen hablarle a alguien
los poetas.
Se dirigen al pueblo
con una espada reluciente 
o con una espiga 
en la mano,
canta dulces canciones
al ser armado,
revelan a nuestro asombro
deslumbrantes paisajes
y dejan flores 
en su camino.
Y yo, 
en mi oscuro nido
llevo la poesía
como un mal oculto
como un secreto
con un fruto prohibido. 

1 comment:

Graham Clayton said...

I don't think Foppa's body will ever be found - she was probably thrown overboard from a plane or helicopter over the ocean, similar to the way that the "disappeared" in Argentina were gotten rid off.