MARCH 10, 1999


Ecuador’s most celebrated artist, seen as among the greatest Latin American painters and sculptors of the 20th century, Guayasamín was born July 6, 1919, in Quito, eldest of 10 children of an Indian father and mestiza mother.  Graduating from the School of Fine Arts in Quito in 1941, his international recognition came in 1956 when he won a competition for artists from Latin America, Spain and Portugal.  A friend of Fidel Castro, he held strong left-wing views.  But even Ecuadoreans who opposed his views saw him as a national treasure.  He saw himself as a witness to and interpreter of the anguish of the native peoples of the Americas and pioneered an “indigenist expressionism” style, depicting oppression and suffering.  In 1976, he set up the Guayasamín Foundation in Quito, donating his collection of pre-Columbian and colonial art, as well over 250 of his own works.  In 1994, he received a prize from UNESCO for his work in defense of peace and human rights.  Oswaldo died in Baltimore, Maryland.

Source:  Colin Harding, “Obituaries:  Oswaldo Guayasamín,” Independent, 4/13/1999.  Retrieved 6/11/2019,
Photo:  Oswaldo Guayasamin, pre-1999. Fair use: This is not being used for profit and is done for educational purposes only.  Further Fair Use justification provided upon request.  Source: 

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