A very iconic woman-I would say

So they have presented to those who do not need a presentation. If Camaguey bears the name of a woman, it could well be called Martha Jimenez, the author of one of the most symbolic works of this city: The Gossipers at the Plaza del Carmen, UNESCO's international prize in 1997.

But it was not always like this.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, the Honorary Member of the Hermanos Saiz Association (AHS) arrived at the Peña Estrechando Espacios of the Literary Cafe "La Comarca", in the House of the Young Creators. She spoke to young people about persistence, the one that made her overcome "all the discrimination she has suffered because of her condition as a woman".

She, passionate eternal of the volumes, managed to mold a sculpture of two meters. That, the Martha Jimenez of today, ended well an old pending of her time as a student at the National School of Art Instructors, where in the classes of woodcarving had to settle for a piece of material, while men obtained pieces of up to three meters to work with.

Look what Leonardo Pablo insisted!, the head of the section of visual arts at the time driver of this interview, he juggled to disguise the same question in different molds: that if what is your most important exhibition; what happened with the UNESCO prize; which work consecrates you; you think you arrived ... he formulated it, and finally, directly: "do you feel an important person?".

Her denials were as clear as sincere: "No, that is never known. I have never believed anything. I never feel satisfied, you have to persist". Persistence seems to be for her a kind of mantra that still carries today.

In her student stage she was among those who lived those days of celebration that was the Salon of May in Havana. Those years he remembers them very well, and she can not hide the pride of knowing she was a direct disciple of Sosabravo, Cervando Cabrera, Lopez Oliva, Mariano and Sandu Darie...

Born in Holguin and Camagueyan by conviction, at the age of six she began to draw there in her native San German, a small village of the center that witnessed the emergence of a vocation for life.

"I am a provincial," she says. In Havana, they believe that we are here in the last world. I did not seek to leave and I intend to stay in Camaguey, it was my work that came first, I only followed it".

Of the number of pieces that she has in her possession she does not keep the account, "I think they are enough" - she says with a carefree glint in her eyes. It gives the impression that Martha is not aware of herself and perhaps there lies that mystery that enhances her, that which makes one enjoy taking her out of her comfort zone of infinite humility and forcing her to tell her story, that of the years in which she founded, along with three other artists, the AHS in Camaguey.

Instead, you only get these words from her: "More than known, I'm interested in my work is accepted, when I see that the young accept it I say: well, I'm in tune". For Martha, every artist has the mission to help young people, and he affirms it with all the conviction of who grew up without that vital help of others already great.

And although the flattery makes her visibly uncomfortable and Martha can not escape from the iconicity she carries with her, nor from this indisputable fact: if Camaguey bears the name of a woman, it could well be called Martha Jimenez.

Author: Claudi Otazua Polo
Photo: Dilmert Rodriguez
Source: Hermanos Saiz Association