Spotlight On: A Series on Culture & The Arts

“Spotlight On” is XelaWho’s regular monthly series on all things cultural & artistic in Xela and Guatemala. The topic for March 2010 is: Efraín Recinos, Guatemala’s Renaissance Man by Diana Pastor.

Painter, cartoonist, muralist, sculptor, inventor, architect, lecturer and athelete. What is missing in the life of Efraín Recinos to make him the ultimate Renaissance Man? At 82 years old, Recinos is one of Guatemala’s best and greatest teachers, above all in the arts, yet he is the author of a number of sublime works that display a unique and particular style. He mixes Guatemalan and surrealist elements that create an idealistic style, yet he also explores the serious and the profound. These contrasts are what make him such an amazing personality.

Recinos is less well-known than he should be given the quality and professionalism of his artistry. He was born in Quetzaltenango in the 2nd decade of the 20th Century. Those who know him personally describe him as an analytical and intelligent man who, despite his years, has not lost his ingenuity nor his humility.

This latter quality is reflected in his actions related to an occurrence at the Centro Cultural Miguel Ángel Asturias in Guatemala City, which he created 30 years ago. When the center paid him homage by naming the main hall after him, Recinos responded with a sincere thanks to all of those construction workers, carpenters, bricklayers and gardeners who helped build the space because without their efforts, it would never have been built.

Without a doubt, an inventor and dream maker such as Recinos could not be one of those who believe that capital cities such as Guatemala City cannot be beautiful – and not just speaking in architectural terms. He believes that every urban space can have its treasures, something the artist demonstrated with his various murals, such as those at the Crédito Hipotecario Nacional, inside and outside La Aurora Airport, at the Biblioteca Nacional, at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música, as well as the murals and fountain at Parque de la Industria.

Then there is Parque Infantil in Zona 18, the design and construction of the Teatro Nacional de Guatemala and the restoration and remodeling of the Conservatorio Nacional de Música. I dare to say that Efraín Recinos is one of those people who truly enjoys his existence on this planet. This enjoyment has translated into his work, his words and his actions. This curiosity and love for humanity is what has brought him to implement a new style based on his own Leitmotiv – which is nothing more than the Guatemala that he loves so dearly.

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