Arts 21/03/11

Antonio Skármeta collects a prize for his novel on Chile in the last days of Pinochet, a stolen Warhol returns to Argentina, and Mafalda turns 49.

Chilean writer Antonio Skármeta won the prestigious Premio Iberoamericano Planeta-Casa de América on 15 March for his novel ‘Los días del arco iris’ (‘The Days of the Rainbow’). The novel takes place in Chile at the end of the 1980s, just before the 1988 plebiscite that ended Pinochet’s dictatorship. Skármeta’s novel was one of 639 entries submitted to the panel of judges in Santiago.

This is the fourth time the $200,000 prize, launched in 2007, has been awarded. Skármeta was a finalist last year, but the prize was suspended due to the earthquake that struck Chile on 27 February 2010. Previous winners include Pablo De Santis, Jorge Edwards, and Ángela Becerra.

A silkscreen portrait of Mick Jagger was returned to its owner in Buenos Aires on 16 March. The 1975 portrait by Pop artist Andy Warhol was stolen from the home of Julio Giardulli in 2005. The artwork is number 66 in a 250-piece series of prints but is extremely valuable as it bears the autographs of both Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol.

Appraised at at least $50.000, Jagger’s portrait was sold for a mere $4.000 to an American doctor from Arizona in an antiques market in San Telmo in 2005. Giardulli called upon Interpol to help him track down his portrait. Interpol and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a division of the US government’s Homeland Security department, were able to locate the piece and deliver it to Buenos Aires but are still searching for the thief.

The Bolivian Ministry of Culture is petitioning UNESCO to include two traditional dances and two festivals on its list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. Culture Minister Elizabeth Salguero penned the application to protect the pujllay and ayarichi dances, and the Alasita and Ichapakene Piesta festivals. Both the pujllay and ayarichi are from the Yampara culture; the pujllay (or ‘game’ in Quechua) is a highly colourful dance that comes from the region around Tarabuco, in Chuquisaca. It is performed during Carnival. The ayarichi, an indigenous dance from the south of Bolivia, features darker, more somber costumes—‘ayarichi’ means ‘to shroud’ or ‘to become a corpse’.

The Alasitas festival, a holdover from the Pre-Columbian era, features ritual miniature offerings to the Ekeko, a figure associated with abundance and prosperity. The Ichapakene Piesta festival takes place in San Ignacio, a municipality in Beni. Literally translated as ‘the greatest that we have is the feast of San Ignacio’, the festival takes place every year between 7 July and 4 August. It dramatizes the myth of San Ignacio de Loyola’s saving Christendom.

On 23 March, Spaniard Plácido Domingo—supposedly the greatest tenor of all time—will present a free, open-air concert in Buenos Aires. 22.000 chairs will be set up along the Avenida 9 de Julio for the concert. Tickets for these spots have all been snatched up as of 14 March, though there will also be standing room available. Domingo will sing arias, tangos, popular songs, and zarzuelas (a Spanish lyric genre that includes both spoken and sung elements). The concert marks his first performance in Buenos Aires since 1998.

The Pallant House Gallery in Chichester will be hosting an exhibition of works by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and the photographers Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo. The exhibit draws on works from the Gelman Collection, widely regarded as the most significant private collection of twentieth century Mexican art. Jacques and Natasha Gelman were Eastern European Jewish émigrés who fled Europe for Mexico City, where they became friends with Rivera and Kahlo, and collected a wide range of European and Mexican art. The traveling exhibit closed yesterday at the Pera Museum in Istanbul and will be on view from 6 April to 26 June at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. It will be on view at the Pallant House Gallery from 9 July until 2 October.

Mafalda, the iconic character created by Argentine cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado, or ‘Quino’, turned 49 on 15 March. The introspective 6-year-old made her first appearance in 1965 on the pages of the Buenos Aires daily ‘El Mundo’.

Some 200 Pre-Columbian pieces, including statues, ceramics, and a sixth century mask from Teotihuacán, go up for auction today (21 March) in Paris. The majority of the pieces, which are mostly from Mexico but also Peru and Brazil, come from the collection of Swiss businessman Henri Law.


The Tate Modern in London is hosting an exhibit on the sculptures and photographs of contemporary Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, on view until 25 April.

Slovakian artist Roman Ondák’s piece ‘Time Capsule’ is on view at the gallery Modern Art Oxford until 20 May. The exhibit features a replica of Fénix 2, the capsule used to rescue the 33 trapped Chilean miners last year.

Billboard Magazine presents a feature on and interview with Mexican rock band Maná, in advance of their highly-anticipated new album, ‘Drama y Luz’, set for release on 12 April.

Chilean chanteuse Francisca Valenzuela has released her sophomore album, ‘Buen Soldado’. The video for her single ‘Quiero verte más’ can be seen here.