“Inheritance” to embrace the world

By: Miguel Terry Valdespino

“La Virgen de papá y mi sueño con El Cobre”

With that exquisite humor that always characterized him, he remembered the Argentine troubadour Facundo Cabral that his uncle Pedro never worked. He hated work and that’s why he distrusted Russian communism. “How can you trust a country that has the flag full of tools,” Facundo’s uncle said half-frightenedly.

But the truth is that, beyond the joke of the Argentine troubadour, work and tools greatly helped in the construction and development of human civilization. The tools helped the man, even if he were minimally paid, to bring the daily bread to his own, as Jesus St. George did for years, a humble repairman of washing machines who, with his unexpected death, left in “inheritance” his son, the painter Denys San Jorge, a substantial list of tools of all kinds: wrenches, Spanish keys, Spanish keys , screwdrivers, itching, tweezers, pliers, nuts, washers…

Diversas ciudades del mundo, abatidas por la Covid, tomaron cuerpo en las herramientas de Denys San Jorge

Con todo ese arsenal a mano y sin las habilidades de su padre para ejercer el oficio de reparador de lavadoras, San Jorge entendió que las herramientas bien podían tener  un uso muy diferente  en el ámbito de las artes visuales. Y a ello se encomendó.

Sorpresa  causaría cuando la “herencia” irrumpiera, formando paisaje en un par de obras suyas, en un evento de Ars Latina celebrado en Baja California, México, y sorpresa contundente causaría más tarde, en la expo Del símbolo a la metáfora, inaugurada en 2010 en el Centro Cultural Félix Varela, donde por primera vez el público tendría conocimiento de una verdadera obra maestra realizada a base de estas herramientas: la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre.

La pieza, titulada en realidad “La Virgen de papá y mi sueño con El Cobre”,  ha sido promovida persistentemente en Cuba, reconocida por la conmovedora imaginación del artista, y antologada en diversas publicaciones internacionales, especialmente en el enjundioso libro La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre en el alma del pueblo cubano, del doctor Emilio Cueto.

Junto al investigador y coleccionista doctor Emilio Cueto
Junto al investigador y coleccionista doctor Emilio Cueto

From then until today, a lot of water has run under the bridge, in completely different projects Denys San Jorge has been enphrased; but the pandemic that broke hard into almost every nation on the planet led it to rethink, like many artists, not only how to reach the public, but also how not to overlook the ravages of a crushing and worrying disease that has come to engest thousands of families in the world and seems to stop at nothing or nothing.

When feelings are strong and vocation genuine, they cannot be seeded between four walls. They cannot be limited to a cultural institution. That is why the order to close the Angerona art gallery in Artemis, because of the health contingency, did not prevent its director, Denys San Jorge, from continuing to create intensely from home.

So cities like Wuhan, Rome, Venice, Lombardy, Quito, Guayaquil, New York, Miami…, where death loomed in every space, where, as in Dante’s Hell, he seemed to warn: “deadly, leave all hope here”, where health workers seemed to go mad or die, found in this man a humble way of expressing himself again from the flexibility of his tools, to water through social media a message of love to the human species , always in danger, a message for men and women of all races, creeds, political tendencies…

But the story of Denys St. George was complicated one day by waking up with the news that his people, where more than forty thousand inhabitants reside, had just contributed a black note to an already obscure situation, when a massive outbreak of covid, the result of an reckless social attitude, began to put in check and quarantine not only the town of Bauta , but the entire municipality.

If St. George was moved earlier, to the point of dedicating his homage to cities of the middle world, he was now twice moved, for the disease had been planted clearly among the people who, throughout a lifetime, shared with him a common space of deprivation and hope. Deserted streets, hermetically closed doors, empty markets, silent fear, mistrust, uncertainty… The danger was everywhere. Equally the infinite poetry of art.

He didn’t wait too long for St. George. Bauta would also have its name “written” with washers, tweezers, keys… If with the simplicity of his pieces he tried to remotely embrace Chinese, Italians, Americans…, if he somehow wanted to share with them “the size of his hope”, as Borges said, life and art also invited him to turn his eyes without delay towards the fate of his terroir. Less could not be expected of those who one day received, unexpectedly and painfully, the tools that opened up to serve him to “write” an infinite message of humanism.

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