Painting in Mexico
I came to Vallarta in the 80s and took a boat over to Yelapa to interview Don Pépe, the grandson of Porfirio Díaz, the last dictator of México. He had come to Yelapa to find his roots, living in a small palapa with a dirt floor and a baño over a waterfall in the back, a hanging bed up in the toponco and sweet scented pink lilies up the path. He spoke mostly about yogurt and France and made good Turkish coffee and later I learned that his home was a refuge for women escaping their boyfriends in the night. He had a small daybed near the door and never asked questions, he just served his strong coffee in the morning.
I spent the first night there on that bed since there was only one boat back to town and it had left in the early afternoon before the sea became rough. This is how it began.
On my walk into town to get the next boat out I encountered a man on a horse who said he had a house for rent and I could rent from him, it would be cheaper than renting from a foreigner. Juan Cruz.
We went up behind the main path and across a small stream and there it was, again there were pink sweet smelling lilies up a path leading to a palapa with plenty of light and a small palapa on the side, my studio. We shook hands and I had my first studio in Mexico.
It was a relief and a revelation. My studios in Toronto had all been illegal, under threat by city hall and developers and they were also cold.
Gentrification had artists moving further and further away until I finally found my studio in another country. I painted there for years and had a several different studios and I still paint images and figures and scenes from the years I spent painting from morning until my swim at the end of the day, building a body of work in the jungle.
I painted portraits of people and animals. There is a burro on my invitation. I had wanted a burro when I had a studio up on the hill near the cemetery but burros were expensive. I painted them instead.
Burros have appeared in art since biblical times and were connected symbolically to Christianity. The burro has been maligned in literature and made stubborn in the fables of Aesop and called an ass by Shakespeare. Yet the donkey is the symbol of the Egyptian god Ra. The Hindu goddess Kalaratri rides on a donkey. The Spaniards called the small donkey a burro and respected the burro for its loyalty and brought the burro to Mexico. Here we admire burros for their good looks, hard work and peaceful countenance.
I now have my studio in Vallarta and I invite you to the opening of my show of recent works on Thursday, February 8 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at my studio at Cuauhtémoc 635 in downtown Vallarta. Simply follow the street Guerrero that changes to Cuauhtémoc in Gringo Gulch. Or come up the new bridge and steps over the Rio Cuale in the Rio Cuale Park then turn right.
Kyba’s Studio gallery is open to visitors weekdays Monday to Friday from 12 to 5, please ring the bell to see work in progress. The National Geographic has reprinted Angeline Kyba’s portrait “Carmen”, her painting “Miriam “was selected for the prestigious Quinta Bienal de Monterrey, her painting “Besame ” is the cover for the book Erotic Journeys and her works are collected world wide.