My Own Guayasamin

Oswaldo Guayasamin isn’t really known in much of the American art world, but my husband and I feel a certain bond to his work. The day after I graduated university, my husband and I flew to Ecuador where we had been hired to teach English in public school in the port city of Machala. It was an incredible experience. Having only been married a year and a half, we still considered ourselves newlyweds. And this was going to be our second honeymoon. It really was wonderful. We lived there for 5 months with a wonderful host family and on most weekends, we traveled to nearby towns or tourist spots. It was in our traveling that we became antiquated with Guayasamin’s work.

Guayasamin is Ecuadorian and his work has a very distinct style. Since most Ecuadorians can’t afford an original, they buy a Guayasamin look-alike painting off the street. There are hundreds of artists who have taken advantage of the loose copyright laws and made a living of copying Guayasamin’s work. Many of the hotels we stayed in while traveling had fake Guayasamins hanging on the walls. One in particular we fell in love with.


Many of Guayasamin’s paintings are of mothers and children. The one on the left bears this title (“Mother and Child”). The one on the right was I think the first one we saw of a man and a woman.  I have searched and searched for the name of this work and have been unable to identify it. We fell in love with it – so much so that we contemplated just buying it directly from the hotel. Instead, we asked them when it was purchased and told ourselves we would visit the artist later. As is with many good intentions, we never got around to paying a visit to the artist and left the country still reminiscing how much we liked the painting.




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