The artisan and the guajiro in the Cuban countryside (+ Photos)

By Lázaro David Najarro Pujol
February, 2021.- The artisan artist from Camagüey Nelson Luís Tornés Verdugo uses again and again in his ceramic works the figure of the Guajiro (from the Antillean Arawak means Lord, powerful man), published the national portal of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC).
This time, Nelson Luís Tornés, on the occasion of February 24, 1895 (restart of the wars in order not to let the Cuban independence spirit die), modeled in clay a peasant who loved the land and animals.
Connected through the cell phone with the world, he also becomes a follower of the traditions of that country man who joined the Mambi troops against Spanish colonialism.
Since 2002 Nelson Luís Tornés has been venturing into the world of ceramics. He is a member of the Camagüey branch of the Cuban Association of Artisan Artists. (ACAA), Graduated from the Provincial Elementary School of Art in Camagüey in 1991 and worthy of important awards, among which are La Vasija Cerámica and in the Main Hall of ACAA.
Nelson Luís Tornés is inspired on this occasion by the Cuban Guajiro, sitting on the stool, cell phone in hand, Yarey hat, machete sheathed in the sheath and cinched around the waist. While he is resting after the intense work in the field, accompanied by his hunting dog.
According to the Cuban encyclopedia (ECURED), the etymology or origin of the word Guajiro on the island “has been a source of controversy, especially because a very well-knit version has become popular, but very far from reality that unfortunately with the rise of the The Internet has continued to run for it”.
The publication also states: “Guajiro, an Amerindian people of the Arawak linguistic family that lives in the department of La Guajira in Colombia and in the state of Zulia in Venezuela. They call themselves Wayúu, the whites being alijuna and the other indigenous people kusina”.
Jesús Orta Ruiz (El Indio Naborí), describes the GUAJIRITO of the 1950s with poetic prose:
His drunken eyes of plain
they shrink from sun and wind
under the filthy cover
of a guano hat.
He imposes a summer sun on her
all its clear inclement
when on his feet, on his face,
in his clothes, anywhere,
there is land, as if it were
a furrow that will walk.
He is a forgotten pearl
hidden in an oyster
of rags, and in a scab
of dug up food.
Barefoot, with the gaze
earthy, with the smile
earthy, while the breeze
sweet from the central brackish
is amazed to see him poor
on the treasure that treads.
In the largest of the Antilles, in the context of the War of Independence in 1895, the peasantry joined the liberating troops that “Generalissimo Máximo Gómez, born on the beautiful island of Quisqueya, commanded.
Legend has it that in that battle after the US troops landed on the island, they called the Cuban combatants War Heroes, which to the ears of the Cuban peasant troops, with no knowledge of the English language, buzzed them like Guajiro, although it does not correspond to reality, because before the Cuban peasant was called a guajiro. (Author’s photos) (Translated by Linet Acuña Quilez)


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