The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York

Three Generations by Aguilera
Three Generations
October 12, 2012 through January 5, 2013
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Three Generations with a common factor: a passion for painting

EVEN IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IT, FOR ME, WRITING ABOUT A FATHER, and I have already done it several times, is a responsibility. Imagine if we add the figures of a grandfather and a brother. In this context, I prefer to leave the sense of responsibility aside and think that writing about a grandfather, a father and a brother is something I should be proud of, especially when we are before an important event: An exhibition bringing together three generations of a family with a common factor, the passion for painting. Rafael, Florencio and Chencho; three painters with whom I share my surname and something else.

My grandfather Rafael, a figure as peculiar as they are, left a special mark in my childhood. I always remember him walking the streets of his beloved and yearned Ayamonte, a place he has widely represented in his paintings. I recall him painting on each sheet of paper he would find and in his tiny studio at street Felipe Hidalgo, surrounded by big canvases inhabited by characters and colors that flooded his artist world, full of papers and magazines and, of course, of his Gigantes Cabezudos (carnival figures with a large head). "Grandpa, would you give this?" I used to ask every time I was there. "Flore, have a look at the kid or she might mess up my things!", "When you get married I'll give you a painting". He never came to my wedding, but his Gigantes Cabezudos occupy a very special place on the walls of my house and every day they remind me of the happiness of colors that always marked his life and his palette. But I specially remember his stories, his longed and awaited Christmas gift and the prohibited popular Carnival songs that he used to sing me while I danced on his feet and laughed. He left as he lived, happy and peacefully, leaving us a legacy that I hope everybody will enjoy in this exhibition. There is only a slight thing that I would have liked to be different; I would have liked my grandfather Rafael to live this event that takes place in a few families of painters.

About my father, Florencio Aguilera, there are not many things I could say that I have not already mentioned. His career talks by itself, but a person with his character always has goals to achieve and this great exhibition is today a dream come true thanks to his determination, effort and struggle, especially in these difficult convulsive times that we are living, in which Muses shiver and Art is not excluded.

It has been long since the last time Florencio Aguilera exhibited in Ayamonte, this corner that he has always loved wherever he were; this land bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, whose light once captivated his pupils and of which he has always been as proud as a son. Sometimes this fact has not been really known by some people who throw up their hands in horror at the first opportunity and award those who still have a lot to do and demonstrate. But when one starts to be getting on, I suppose that life is seen in another way, from the serenity and experience granted by the years; and one starts to be above many things, even if it hurts.

There could be no other place to start this course, this exhibition that brings together his father and his son, and that I hope will bring the success it deserves. I am sure of it.

As logical, I leave my brother Chencho last, not just because he is the youngest one, but also because his career is still to be written. He was born a 7th April and as soon as he took a pencil we knew that he had come to this world with that skill that "you get or you don't get". I always remember him sunk into his drawings, as If he was another character in those battles in a castle, in a football match or in the car races; scenes that gave free rein to a child's imagination, a boy who one day would follow in the steps of his grandfather and father. It is not me who has to describe Chencho Aguilera's painting, and I do not want to expand more because I know that he does not like people to talk too much about his personal life. Nevertheless, I will take the liberty to point out that, since it could not have turned out any other way, Chencho has a promising future. His painting is a mixture between social denunciation and the hope in the look of his characters. Color explodes in his canvasses and submerges us in sinuous and disturbing brushstrokes that lead us to a personal Universe only known by him and a part of which he wants to share with the observer of his paintings.

As granddaughter, daughter and sister, I just hope that this exhibition will shake the sensitivities and leave a sweet mark in the retinas of all those wanting to know such three different, and at the same time similar, painters who have permitted the love for painting to survive three generations. I hope the saga will continue. I do not know if my little LucĂ­a, who at the date of this article is 17 months old, will continue the tradition. She has the appropriate genes, indeed, from both sides of the family, because it is right to say that, as well as her grandfather Florencio, who has already provided her with her first wax crayons, her paternal grandfather Antonio has been flirting with Art since several decades ago. She will be free to choose what she wants to be, but what is sure is that she will breathe art in each corner of her memory.

Esperanza Aguilera Cabalga

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