Oil portrait by AVonnHartung
“El Jíbaro”, a Puerto Rican cultural icon, symbolizes to me the “salt of the Earth” and expresses the integration of ourselves in the cosmos. It is a painting inspired by my neighbors who have cultivated the land of their ancestors from the beginning. Don Pepe represents for me all those who still cultivate the land; living links to our past, sustenance today and hope for abundance and sustainability in the future.
Our Jíbaro is the link with our past as well as our hope for the future. He/She represents, on the one hand, the constant battle between the so-called permanence of concrete and asphalt which is quickly engulfing our fertile land and drying up our lakes and rivers due to urban sprawl and the overwhelming dominance of the automobile as symbol of impoverished planning. And on the other hand, the stability and sustainability through cosmic spirituality which, along with intact families, are our guarantee of a healthy, harmonious continuity which must offset the suicidal (or more aptly expressed, planeticidal*) race to deplete our natural resources.
*the killing of our own planet