Tropical Path (Part 2): The Life and Work of Antonia Eiríz
Hills de Zárate, Margaret
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Hills de Zárate, M. (2010) Tropical Path (Part 2): The Life and Work of Antonia Eiríz. ATOL: Art Therapy Online, 1 (2), pp. 1-29.
The second part of this extended paper traces the life and work of the Cuban artist Antonia Eiríz Vásquez from 1968 (when she stopped painting) to 1993; when she left Cuba for Miami where she died in 1995. Drawing upon archival materials and interviews, her involvement with Arte popular and specifically one aspect of it, papier mache, is described. Her activity in this area is contextualized with reference to the political and economic climate of the period and with reference to the support and recognition this work received from the Cuban establishment. It is proposed that her involvement with Arte popular does not represent a complete break with her previous artistic, social and political concerns but rather provided a different route for their expression. As such, it is suggested that her innovative work in establishing Arte popular constitutes an example of cultural democracy which in turn provided the backdrop to the development of art therapy practices in Cuba and that this by implication positions her as a 'forerunner' of Cuban art therapy. The term 'forerunner' is used here as it is employed Ben-David and Collins (1966) and latterly by Waller, (1991) and Gilroy (2006) to describe how a profession develops from the interests of a few people, the 'forerunners', who pave the way for a 'new idea' to emerge. This 'new idea' or path is developed by others who establish an 'interest group' and so 'found' a discipline; the 'founders' then teach the 'followers'.