It provides a harrowing vision that prophesies the forms of torture other horrors that the people of Nicaragua would be subjected to. In addition, it is an important example of an author responding both to public criticism and political tragedy through a work of art in an attempt to express political solidarity with the oppressed while furthering his revolutionary literary aesthetic. The story mimics historical truth because all of the characters in the story are in fact drawn from his real-life experience of attending a similar press conference in Nicaragua. He helps the locals to sell their paintings. Several instances of foreshadowing unhinge the travel-diary-like narration.
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On September 12, , Thomas Merton, a scholar, poet, and Trappist monk at the Cistercian Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, wrote a letter to a Nicaraguan seminarian who had previously spent two years at the abbey. Ernesto Cardenal, the recipient of the letter, would later become a prominent figure in the very revolution Merton had warned him about. In , Cardenal, a Catholic poet-priest, established a parish on the archipelago of Solentiname in Nicaragua.
The priest introduced the residents of Solentiname—whose presence on the islands predated his own—to liberation theology, a school of thought that views the Christian Gospel as a vehicle for social justice. But perhaps the most lasting legacy of Solentiname is neither its theology nor its politics, but its art. Cardenal, a sculptor and poet, encouraged his parishioners to sculpt, write poetry, paint, and otherwise create. Intervention in Central and Latin America. The work was first presented at P.
Intervention in Central America. Nicaragua, like Vietnam, was a Cold War proxy battlefield. The Soviet Union supported the Sandinistas, while the U. The ensuing Contra War persisted until , killing tens of thousands of Nicaraguans.
By putting the CISPES timeline in conversation with the Group Material archive—propaganda posters from Guatemala and El Salvador, flags, invitations to art exhibitions—the gallery honors the centuries of resistance that have met centuries of imperialism.
If the exhibition examines the role of art in revolution, it also explores the ways in which art can be manipulated in times of crisis. A photograph of a Sandinista, for instance, could become a tribute to freedom fighters, or a condemnation of insolent rebels. While the world was documenting the Nicaraguan Revolution, the residents of Solentiname grappled with it through their art. And over time, as they became increasingly adept painters, they sold their work to international markets—and funneled some of the profits back into the revolution.
The Solentiname paintings were political not just in their economic function, but also in their content. The parrots are multifaceted symbols: they are Nicaragua, breaking free from the thrall of American political and market demands; they are farm laborers escaping economic subjugation; they are souls fleeing material confines.
In it, arranged on and above a raised platform, are 17 sculptures created by the priest from to plants and fruit, birds, fish, and other animals. So in , Marcos Agudelo, a Nicaraguan artist and architect and the son of one of the founding members of the Solentiname community, set out to renovate it. An exhibition at 80WSE explores the global impact of an artistic agricultural community during the Nicaraguan Revolution.
Remembering Solentiname, a "Utopia Under Construction"
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Apocalipsis de Solentiname