4 - Stories from Galicia 1961 :
by Michael Furstner
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Joseliño's fears regarding my sister's health
did fortunately not eventuate and she has lived healthy and happily up to
this day. Her trip to Spain did have a profound effect on her however, at least in my
view. It represented (I believe) probably the first major milestone in Wivica's
development as an artist.
paintings in the main reflected the usually grey, sunless, miserable days
prevailing in Holland. Gloomy pictures in dark greens, greys, browns and black of
depressing ocean waves and the likes.
Returning from Spain in 1961 however,
these dark colours totally disappeared instantly from her palette and were replaced by
bright and happy, yellows, orange, reds and whites. Although her choice these
days reflects a deeper inner light, rather than that early Spanish
exhilaration, those light colours from way back then (now augmented by bright
blues, purples and happy greens) have remained in her art ever since.
On her visit to me in Galicia (NW Spain) in 1961 Wivica was in fact accompanying
my then "novia" Antien (in due course to become my wife). Both young
ladies were very much welcomed by the people there and revered by
Joseliño as well as the eccentric "viejo" of Caión, the 80
year old Basilio.
Basilio was a wonderful sweet man, every time we
visited Caión he would meet us in the Hotel bar and talk to us. He had a
most interesting self made cigarette lighter which he used all the time.
It consisted of a tinder box made of the cut off hollow end of a bull's horn. He
would hold a piece of flint stone close over the tinder box and hit it with a
small piece of metal, so that the resultant spark would ignite the tinder.
On the final day of our very last stay in Caión Basilio came to
bid us farewell. The bottom of the left hose of his long trousers was tied tight
around his leg with a piece of string. When he bent over and undid the string a life
rabbit fell out off his pants.
Basilio grabbed it, held it upside down by its hind
legs, then killed it with a quick, well aimed blow with the side of his hand
against the rabbit's neck. He then handed the now dead animal over to the girls
who did not quite know wether to smile (as thank you for Basilio's gift) or to
cry (for the sad death of the rabbit).
In the end we gave the rabbit over to the hotel
kitchen where they cooked it for our last evening meal there, which we
consumed with somewhat mixed emotions. But Basilio, Joseliño and all those other friends we made in Galicia have remained in our hearts ever since.
Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner