Ours is ours

Thus, with this categorical tone of reaffirmation, has wanted to name Martha Jimenez this new exhibition of nine pieces that now has before the viewer. Such a tone does nothing more than assume a position of passionate defense, not only for what is created but also for what is believed. And is that passion, without affectations, is what precisely characterizes the work of this woman.

The movement of these heads, the walk of these feet holding a rotating torso, the apparent statism of figurative objects which are enclosed in this set of dishes and even the possible hieraticism that marks that monumental jug on one side, and creole dun on the other, mark, through different and new texture, in the way of saying of this artist, the dissimilar angles from which the Cuban can be assumed.

The texture that is now worked by the astist simulates the yagua and incorporates it into the mud tradition. The use of the yagua, the royal palm and the many elements that can be derived from it, had its antecedents in the fields of Cuba. The royal palm was not in vain represented on our national coat of arms as one of the patriotic symbols. It is full of identity and indisputable insularity. The palm, from its lordly height, also seems to want to tell us that: ours is ours ... and nobody's else. The guajiro, a character already captured by artists such as Carlos Enriquez, Abela, Mariano, Victor Manuel and many others, now resurges not as a character but through the simulation of one of the materials that worked and incorporated her modus operandi: the yagua.

The blanket, as Martha Jimenez calls it, which covers the faces of these pieces provoke a game of looks towards the viewer.  And there is in that game, a certain sensuality that worries and seduces. But the blanket also becomes hirsute hair, sidelong look, smile that is hidden, or simply, ironic smile. The shirt, another of the pieces that are exhibited there, is for me one of the most unique. Everything in it is a movement that covers the covered heartbeat of the one who carries it. The artist then invites to look beyond the apparent, so that the viewer penetrates with a firm look at the discovery of essences that touch different textures of identity. It is indisputable that, with this new exhibition of her work, Martha Jimenez enters another moment of her creation.

I do not think that she leave behind the images of her customs, the local flavor of her characters, all that she has done that transcends the merely regional, to place it in a definite Caribbean and insular space. As she herself has told me: she is in search of a different speech, but without abandoning the depth that has always characterized each of her pieces. And is that an artist, when it is authentic, can not stop. Her work will constitute a continuous experimental dialogue, which in this specific case of Martha Jimenez is a search for essences, perpetual movement, voices that will form a unique and creative polyphony. All this to indicate that, despite everything, ours is ours in a wide fretboard, Guillenian if you like, that allows this woman to tell that the Cuban color is above all: essence, movement, rhythm, verse, pain, anguish and resistance.

To enjoy these pieces now, is to discover all that and much more, and wait for the new paths of this artist whose work is enriched and diversified thanks to her fine sensitivity to catch what goes beyond the apparent and the everyday.


Author: Dr. Olga Garcia Yero.
October 2003.