Martha Jimenez: soul cultivator

An intense sun, with its golden rays stretched to no more, mixed with rare gusty winds that characterize a month as November, accompanied us step by step to the street of General Gomez, where is the workshop of Martha Jimenez, that great creative of the fine arts. The heat was gone at once. There you can breathe an atmosphere that can take away anybody's stress.

Accompanied by an important group of her works, her assistant and dedicated to modeling with a skill in her hands worthy of seeing, without stopping, just to be photographed, facilitated this interview to give us the opportunity to visit our weekly twice at a time; today, in its pages and since Monday 28, through an exhibition at the gallery Nicolas Guillen, based in our center, about the start of the Colloquium of the Written Press.

Martha Jimenez was born in San Germán, province of Holguin. She was a child of art. She liked music, ballet, dance with a lot of movement, with a very special admiration for Alicia Alonso. What of the fine arts comes to her in her arteries. Two uncles, especially one of them, who dedicated himself to drawing and painting, influenced her interest in this artistic expression.

"I grew up watching them and started to draw, even among the cousins ??we drew each other. The first thing that I did was the entrance test in the art school of Santiago de Cuba and when beginning the recruitment for those who would be the instructors of art in 1963, I examined and entered the first school of this type in Havana, in my specialty".

"After four years of study I was selected to go to the National School of Art, I had the conditions and the age required. I rejected the offer because of family problems, so I chose social service in creation and as an instructor. I passed a course of improvement for two years in the capital and after this stage I stayed in Camaguey, in the years '69, '70".

Did you drink water from the tinajon?

"Likewise," she said with a broad smile.

Is this work strong for a woman?

"Modeling and sculpture are not strong, but very strong, but it happens that because I like them so much, I love them so much, I do not feel that way, I enjoy it. For a time I only painted and drew, I had no resources and I was left with dissatisfaction because I like to work the volume, the contrast of light and shadow. Then I did things and kept them".

In general, what do you take inspiration from?

"In life itself, I take the good and the bad that I find in it. Sometimes I take the beautiful into the light or satirize something, it depends on the inspiration or the message to carry. Even contradictions motivate me, this is something that attracts me a lot, the no and the yes, the negative and the positive".

What is the best time to create?

"The morning, it influences me the temperature, the atmosphere must be pleasant, with too much heat the effort has to be superior and suffocating".

Did your children follow in your footsteps?

"No, and yes, I tell you that not because the three of them are dedicated to science, but with a tremendous artistic sensitivity, they are students of music, cinema, and the fine arts. They can value in any of these cases".

Do you spend some time working with the children?

"For years I dedicated myself to teaching, I was in the Academy Vicentina de la Torre, I loved it, I delighted it. In my free time, very little by the way, I dedicate a few minutes, so to speak, to children of the community, to open creation".

"I conceive it with a view to forming future talents or spectators who, not only observe art, but know how to value it. Thus are transformed their attitudes to life, that discipline them, is incalculable".

"They come of their own volition and I have also attended cases with difficulties in school performance, for some reason or other and have greatly improved and it's proved by the gratitude of their parents and teachers".

"I dedicate a little piece of my life to it".

Prizes obtained?

"There are some, but what fills me is the recognition of a very diverse population, with different idiosyncrasies, but they approve and admire what I do. The same happens with children, young people, adults from Cuba and other latitudes. Recognition of the work is the most important thing for me".

In any case, it would be sacrilegious to ignore the UNESCO prizes, given to the set of ceramic works, in 1997, and FIART, from '99, the awards or mentions of the Biennials of Pottery from the Museum of Contemporary Ceramics and the Biennial of Ceramics of Havana during the years 2004, 2005 and 2006.

If you started again and had to choose a profession?

"I would do the same, and I would dedicate myself to writing, besides, it fascinates me. Oh, I would belong to a dance group, where a lot of body expression is required".

What do you think about current art instructors?

"Without a doubt, a very good idea. They must work as instructors and as artists, knowing how to lead the two things trains them. They have to be tenacious and constant, and sacrifice very much".



By: Olga Lilia Vilato.
November 2007