Back in Quito for a few days, my parents, Brent, and I walked over to Fundación Guayasamin and Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man). It actually took a good half hour to walk up the side of hill almost in Guápulo and then behind Parque Metropolitano to finally arrive. Every time we asked for directions though, in true Ecuadorean fashion people responded with “ohh just a one more block.” Oswaldo Guayasamin is probably Ecuador’s most famous artist and his former home has been transformed into an extensive museum. In the first part of the tour, a short video that he recorded many years ago described his life and work and how he had collected and created so much artwork that he asked his children to build the Foundation for him.
The tour began with pre-Colombian art that filled the communal rooms of the house. Next we moved into the more private rooms that were decorated with different collections and works from other famous artists like Picasso, who used to exchange sketches. Even his bathroom was a masterpiece with large picture windows and a succulent garden:
We finished in his grand studio that was overflowing with tools and materials and then onto the gallery which showed his transformation from a Diego Rivera style into deeper, darker depictions of the human spirit.
After the museum tour we walked over to the Chapel of Man, his masterpiece. In the middle of the chapel is a flame that represents the internal spirit. Amongst the chapel’s two floors were massive canvases representing raw human struggle. His lágrimas (tears) represent tears of victims, such as the disappeared in Chile.
This museum is by far my favorite in South America so far and I am now the proud owner of a Guayasamin print, La Ternura (tenderness). His home’s design style incorporated some elements which I thought similar to Frank Lloyd Wright’s style at Taliesin West in Arizona.
Although nothing could top off this experience, what followed was an indulgence into culinary Quito. First we stopped off at Bandido Brewing for IPAs and a saison and to fill up the growler that my parents had so graciously brought for me. I am now Bandido’s proud first growler customer. Then, we went to Vista Hermosa for a traditional Ecuadorean feast while overlooking all of old town. We ate caldo de gallina, locro de papa, seco de chivo and fritada.
Seco de Chivo:
Fritada with mote (white hominy), maduros (sweet plantains) and llapingachos (potato cheese balls)