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133 pages
32 minutes
Nov 19, 2013


Charys visual expression reveals simultaneously her displacement from and re-encounter with a nation that is marked by a long history of dispossession and cultural intermixing. Her art can perhaps be best understood in the context of the Cuban avant-garde movement, which, in turn, resonates against the costumbrista and paisajista movements.
In addition to revealing a search for cultural origins, Charys art highlights the importance of the landscape as well as the inclusion of regional iconography and folklore. It reveals the presence of distinct elements, patterns, rhythms and cultural forms first explored by the first generation of Cuban vanguardia artists, who distinguished themselves according to their use of bright colors, patterns and baroque visual rhythms. Seeking to somehow define the essence of Cuban culture and forge a new national identity, the vanguardia artists of the 1920s located the national in the picturesque and drew upon the countryside as a powerful source of visual iconography.
Like many of the vanguardia artists, Chary employs iconographical symbols and elements in an attempt to explore and recapture the many sources of Cuban culture from her childhood. Though her work is drawn primarily from her imagination, it is anchored in the artists memories of the Cuban countryside. Chary draws upon the landscape in an effort to explore her own sense of loss and displacement. When I paint landscapes, she tells me, they are always Cuban; when I paint fruit, they are tropical. The fruit and the roosters that appear in my work not only represent my Cuban roots, but they also enable me to process the past.
Charys canvases are habitats populated with sensuous flora and fabulous fauna. Rendered primarily in pen and ink, fantastical animals and exotic fruit spring to life on her canvases in frenetic swirls and chiaroscuro. Although they are reminiscent of her earlier work, her most recent creations tend to be more abstract, or focus more specifically on pattern and form. For Chary, the abstract represents a way of commenting on loss as well as her own personal battles. For me, she explains, painting is a mode of survival.
Chary renders in brilliant inks and fluorescent acrylics an inventory of a past informed by movement and loss. She cultivates a symbolic language that serves to define certain fundamental aspects of what is means to be a Cuban in diaspora, and in the process recaptures the translucent colors and the dazzling tropical forms of the island she left behind. Light and form become symbol in Charys art. It generates unexpected paradigms that reproduce and transform the ordinary in an exuberant, dancelike strugglea poetic renderingof movement, color and form.
Nov 19, 2013

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The Colors of Life - Rosario (Chary) Castro-Marín

Copyright © 2012, 2013 Rosario (Chary) Castro-Marín and Emilio Ichikawa Morín

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Emilio Ichikawa’s narrative was translated from the original Spanish by Cristina de la Torre, Atlanta University.

Art by Chary Castro-Marín can be found at http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/chary+castro+marin/all

Photos by Marlon De Castro, Morgan A. Czermingel, Juan Carlos Alomá, Heather J. Kirk and Bill Sperry.

Library of Congress Control Number:   2012921284

ISBN:   Softcover   978-1-4633-4117-6

             EBook       978-1-4633-7365-8

Morín, Emilio Ichikawa – Author

Castro-Marín, Chary – Artist and Co-Author

The Colors of Life –1st ed.

ISBN:   Softcover    -1-4633-4117-6

EBook    978-1-4633-7365-8

1. Caribbean & Latin American      2. Techniques / Pen & Ink Drawing      3. American / Hispanic American

Rev. date: 11/19/2013

To order additional copies of this book, please contact:

Palibrio LLC

1663 Liberty Drive

Suite 200

Bloomington, IN 47403

Toll Free from the U.S.A 877.407.5847

Toll Free from Mexico 01.800.288.2243

Toll Free from Spain 900.866.949

From other International locations +1.812.671.9757

Fax: 01.812.355.1576

www.palibrio.com      http://bookstore.palibrio.com/


Table of Contents


Prologue: In Chary’s Words…

Emilio Ichikawa Morín and I: A Cyber-Meeting for History

Arte Amandi



Pipe Sardiñas



For the First Time the Sea


Letter from an Aging Aesthete

Phoenix: The Sea Once Again

Hemingway’s Cats

The Bark of the Olive Tree


Critical Commentary

Symbolism Over Substance

No Solo Project (Not Alone)


Costillitas Guayaberas



Initiation for the Return

Almost Like Yesterday

Iconography of Palettes

The Morros

Epilogue: The Landscape of the Dispossessed

Table of Images

In memory of:

Lucia Leticia Castro de Singer



After knowing Rosario (Chary) Castro-Marín for many years and sensing her awesome presence, full of life and intelligence, one can begin to grasp why she became a painter during her mid-years, living and creating art in displacement far from her hometown. The best part is that her works are still an essential part of the art tradition of her natal city of Cienfuegos.

It is significant to note that both physical and emotional distance have not disturbed Chary’s precious memories of her grandfather’s farm. Depictions of her Cuban countryside with its flowers, birds, and trees that she so graciously brings to life, do not seem affected by her moving from the seaside city of Cienfuegos to Phoenix, a city rooted in the Sonoran Desert. Shifting from the Caribbean cultural landscape to the Arizonian one populated by Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and more, does not seem to perturb the unspoiled insights of her tropical vistas.

Displacement has

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