Visual Arts Like Sculpting, Painting, And Filming In Ecuador’s Culture And History
Ecuador, a small country located on the north west coast of South America, is home to part of the Amazon Forest and the motherland of the Galapagos Islands. While it has many natural wonders, it also holds a strong culture, one which its people celebrate. One aspect of Ecuador’s culture are the Arts that you will see if you travel to the country. Arts is a broad section of culture, divided into two categories – the performing arts, such as music, drama, and dance; and the visual arts, such as ceramics, painting, sculpture, and architecture. We will look specifically into three visual arts commonly known – sculpture, painting, and film. Discussing their history (i.e. who first created them, when they were created), what they are, and what their forms are in the modern world, knowledge of these visual arts will be gained for your enhancement.
Sculpture in Ecuador dates back to 1535 in Quito when Spanish sculptors took the religious activities at the time as an advantage in their business. In Quito, religious communities were being built, so statues from both Spain and Italy were imported as figures of Christ in materials such as ivory, and began to arrive in Ecuador in the early 1600s. Most of these statues were representing the Catholic religion, and are now preserved in churches and oratories. To celebrate Christmas, people in the Catholic religion called Franciscans imported creches, along with the sculptures the creole sent. These little figurines resembled those from Japanese and Chinese culture, which ultimately influenced the Ecuadorian (religious) sculpture.
Manuel (Caspicara) Chili, who lived from the late 18th to early 19th century, was the most known sculptor in Ecuador in his days, and influenced Ecuador’s sculpture greatly. With working in wood, Caspicara created works of art from little figurines, to life size statues dressed in clothing. Today, Ecuador has a wide variety of sculptures, statues, and figurines, most of which are wood carvings. Every year, citizens of Ecuador build massive sculptures and statues made of paper and wood, called anos viejos, that are to be burned to down on New Year’s Eve to resemble the past year’s days burning down and flying away.
Before the Spanish took over and made settlements in Ecuador, the native people had an assortment of arts in their cultures, such as ceramics, some bits of sculpting, and paintings. Much like sculptures, paintings in Ecuador began to shift with the influence of the Spanish, almost always focusing on religious aspects, and even more specifically on Catholic saints and Christ. Most painters at the time did not paint anything besides that, but some, like Caspicara, still kept the indigenous style in their pieces painted. Soon, a new aspect called the Quito School was raised in order to combine Spanish works with native influences.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this approach and idea was very well known, and in fact was used commonly, until it began to die out after the Ecuadorian independence when natural landscapes, heroes, and social elite seemed to be the main subjects of art. Today, you can see these colonial paintings on display in old churches and museums. Currently, one of the most well known Ecuadorian artists is Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919-1999), who depicted the lives of suffering natives through hands and faces, in a style close to Picasso’s. Today, Ecuador’s art is based on traditional folk art, so the paintings that are painted today are also based and referenced off of the masterpieces from the Quito School.
Much like most Latin american countries, Ecuador did not have a major place in the film industry, for Hollywood and European productions took most of the business. But that did not stop it from blooming. In the 1920s, Augusto San Miguel made two films that were featured, which boosted up the industry and gave off high hopes. The next fifty or so years, however, films were no more than historical if measured as what they would be today. From the 1970s, the film business in Ecuador picked up once more as an organization named Asocine formed with a group of filmmakers. 1999 is when the business completely rocketed when a man named Sebastian Cordero’s film “Rats, Mice, and Thieves” was awarded several international awards.
The film industry in Ecuador has only progressed from there. Today, Ecuador’s films are in genres such as thrillers, attempts in science fiction, and now, a coming of age bestseller, which has won a feature, “A Son of Man,” which was released very recently in 2018. Currently, Ecuadorian films being produced are popular globally, and now are showed off yearly at the U.S film festivals. This year, five films that have been featured will come out of Ecuador to the film festival held in New York to show the country’s progression in the film business.
In conclusion, visual arts like sculpting, painting, and filming have tied significantly into Ecuador’s culture and history. Because of certain arts being traced back to religious movements, Ecuador now has a rich assortment of paintings to resemble aspects from the past and statues made for new and creative reasons, while still holding onto traditional aspects. The films industry and business has not just improved in the last century, but has rocketed to be a large part of Ecuador’s pride. When all the pieces are put together like that, you do not only see a country with natural wonders like rainforests, mountains, and islands, but a country with a strong culture, a culture which its people are proud to celebrate