Group "Fidelio Ponce": cultists of popular art

Nobody better than the group of amateur artists "Fidelio Ponce de Leon" fits the expression: "work for the love of art".

It has been the passion for painting, engraving, ceramics, still life, papier-maché and other related manifestations that has motivated these enthusiastic creators to remain faithful to their founding principle of putting their work to their own enjoyment and enjoyment of the community without receiving any monetary benefit. A work that arouses admiration and respect among the Camagueyans who have witnessed their work in times of slackness and limitations during the last two decades.


In December 1981 the art instructor Martha Jimenez had the happy idea of bringing together in a creation workshop a very heterogeneous group of people whose common denominator was the love of the beautiful and the desire to create.

In this way, the "Fidelio Ponce de Leon" Group was founded in the classrooms of the Casa de Cultura "Ignacio Agramonte", which in those years was located in what is now the Colonial Gallery, a few steps from the central Plaza del Gallo.

Students, housewives, workers, retirees; people of different ages and social strata met every night under the aegis of artisan-artist Martha Jimenez to learn how to achieve perspectives in drawing, dissimilar shapes in clay or simply combine colors in the kaleidoscopic palette.

The 80s of the last century were undoubtedly the golden times of the Group, which pays tribute with its name to the memory of a great artist from Camaguey and Cuba.

In 1984 they were categorized in the first level by the National System of Houses of Culture, which sponsors the amateur movement; and their works, diverse both in subject matter and techniques, toured the province and overflowed into other lengths of Cuban geography always representing the City of the Tinajones.

Important galleries of the capital hosted pieces of the Group, even had representation in the Biennial of Havana.

Know how to overcome difficulties: virtue of Cubans

The difficult years of the so-called Special Period after the fall of the European socialist camp and the USSR, marked an unstable stage for those of the "Fidelio".

With meager resources, since the directorates of Culture were limited to provide them, they also faced changes in their leadership, which made it difficult to hold their workshops.

Her founder and leader went on to other functions in her rising career as a professional, while the Group was to be led by other instructors, including Orlando Basulto and Marlene Pimentel, the latter from the Casa de Cultura "Joaquin de Aguero".

But the dedication and perseverance of its members won after all. And in 1999 they settled permanently in the Casa de Cultura "Julio Antonio Mella", under the direction of Gumersindo Diaz Rivero, its current president.

In times of culture without exclusion

Forerunners of a policy where culture is massive, the "Fidelio Ponce de Leon", with 23 years of making popular art for general enjoyment, is a consecrated and mature group.

Today there are 20 members of this renewed brotherhood, that every second Thursday of every month they meet to give workshops of artistic appreciation, give talks and conferences.

Among its ranks we find a laureate Armandina Guerrero Blassis, teacher of trade and heart who, from so much drawing in her class laminarians faces of martyrs and heroes of the fatherland, became an excellent portraitist.

She is one of the pioneers of the group and her realistic style amazes the viewer who observes the faces of a Guillen or a Felicita Ortiz, as if contemplating the immortalized models themselves.

We have a bartender become a surrealist who signs his landscapes and nudes of a woman by the name of Rene Castillo Fernandez, who confesses to being an admirer of the also Camagueyan-born Lorenzo Linares and prefers blue among the colors, although he assiduously also uses ocher.

A 40-year history of artistic creation and instruction is summarized in Orlando Navarro Madrigal, another of the usual in this group that has now proposed to recover engraving and woodcut in the city of Camaguey.

Oneiric representations and the perfection of the human anatomy are the favorite themes for Ramon Ortiz Esquivel, who after his working day in the construction company ECOI-8 seeks inspiration for a series that he craves with the title of "The 7 Capital Sins".

These are the men and women who make up the "Fidelio Ponce", an exemplary group in the non-professional artistic movement of the province and Cuba. Common people discovering a way of saying that goes beyond words and gestures to enter the magical language of images.

Autor: Gualveris Rosales Sanchez
Source: Radio Cadena Agramonte