Artista: Oswaldo Guayasamín
Oswaldo Guayasamin was born on July 6, 1919, in Ecuador, the son of an indigenous Quechua Indian father and mestizo (mixed race) mother. He was the oldest of ten children, and early on developed a talent for art. His father was a hardworking man who was distant with his son, often physically abusive, and consequently their relationship was never a close one. On the other hand, Oswaldo loved his mother dearly, and credited her with fostering his love of the arts and supporting him in the early stages of his career.
Because of his mixed racial heritage he experienced racism and discrimination on a personal basis which became a major theme in his artwork later in life. At the age of 12 he started art school, and not long after lost one of his closest friends in the bloody 4 day civil war in Ecuador in 1932. This personal loss was another major influence on his artwork and on his development as a political activist and humanitarian.
At the age of 21 in 1940 he married another artist, Maruja Monteverde, and over the course of their 15 year marriage they had four children--two boys and two girls. In 1941 he graduated at the top of his class from art school and, right from the start, met with success. A major exhibition of his artwork was, by chance, viewed by Nelson Rockefeller who bought five of his paintings from the exhibit. The next year Rockefeller arranged for Guayasamin to receive a grant to visit the US for several months and to show his art to an American audience.