Friday, February 23, 2007
I am always drawing pigs and somehow fascinated by the image of that animal....I remember a strange incident..
I was in Lahr,a little town in the Black Forest,the Schwarzwald,as it is known in German.
We were visiting and we passed a backyard where,we saw pigs.
Barbara's daughter yelled out behind us,
"Why did you bring here,these two schweinen Juden!
And then,when we entered Barbara's parents home,
my mother recognized Jewish artifacts and clothing that belonged once to Jewish wealthy women.
The breitchwanz fur.
I had brought my mother to Europe, for the first time,after the war.It was to celebrate her birthday in May,and at the same time, to exploring my chances there.
So I went to Zurich,where I met the publisher Walter Herdeg of Graphis,an international graphicpublication.He received me,after keeping us for quite sometime in suspense, in the reception at Dufourstrasse 107.
Annemarie German,his assistant come down the stairs, bubbling and effusive.She asked me if I could come up for an interview.
I could not believe my eyes.
Mr.Herdeg, apologized for having me wait...he had a wonderful surprise for me.
The layout for the interview,that was going to be published in the magazine.I was introduced to the writer and Mr.Herdeg,
wanted from me only to have my signature in different ways.
By pencil,crayon or brush.
Mr.Herdeg made a connection for me with Georges Dargaud,the publisher in Paris and Louis Silverstein,the Managing Editor of the NYTimes .
He believed my drawings would be very successful in New York and in Paris.
. In 1975,I went to Germany,by accident.I had an acquaintance there.
It all started when I was working as a cartoonist for the Jornal da Tarde, in Sao Paulo.
I used to work on a table close to the Editor in Chief.
One day, a man come by the newsroom, and approached the Editor with a story about a Nazi that lived on the
border of Germany and France.
He himself,a Brazilian.lived in New York,and supposedly worked for WWD and lived on Fifth Avenue ,in Greenwich Village.
Usually,I would come in to the newspaper around mid afternoon, would read different stories, and sometimes leave to
the theaters nearby,to watch concerts or plays or even go to art galleries openings,and return to sketch the drawings for the
next day,under deadline.
So,not long after that man's appearance in the newspaper,one evening on my way to an opening,I ran into this man.
He asked me if I could have a word with the Editor.
And then, at the time,in Brazil, as it was common ,this man,appeared in my home for a visit.
This time,with a young German woman.
When she greeted my mother,she screamed out,after noticing the tattood number A-26.427 on my mother's left arm.
" Germany is a beautiful country."
"We could never have done that !".
And from then on,she would correspond from New York to me and my mother.
I never found out her surname.
My mother had such a wonderful joie de vivre.
" Look at the cheese,not at the holes"...she would always say to me,when I was sad.
She loved Confucius,she was full of curiosity.
She looked for colors and Beauty.
We laughed a lot.
When I would go out from home to work,I would call her many times.
We talked so much over the phone.
I would ask her what she was in mood to eat, and enjoy bringing her surprises.
I would cross Manhattan uptown,downtown.west and east.
My mother was my little doll.
Of course,sometimes we would disagree on some things,as
I would be frustrated when I was not able to afford what I had in mind.
I had to battle as a young independent woman, in Brazil,where
a woman was chastised and looked down upon,if she worked.
And particularly as a cartoonist ,in a field dominated exclusively by Man.
Despite all I never was a feminist.
I would only stand up and will so for my human rights.
And my professional rights.
There are differences.
A Man is a Man and I like him if he is a
gentleman,with humor and love in his heart.
A Woman is a Woman.
And we should be partners,not adversaries.
Together man and woman,is so sensual and erotic.
There is no need to have Olimpic diatribes,if we only communicate our desires and see eye to eye.
I enjoyed so much my daily work in the newpaper,which was a nightly work in fact.
I felt like an owl,
and it was for me the ultimate orgasm,to see my drawings published overnight.
I would go visit agencies in the morning,and I remember Jose
Zaragoza,from DPZ, showing me a drawer full of newspaper cuts with my drawings inside.
Worse, the public loved my drawings.
I also took part in gallery shows,winning awards in art salons.
I was called by publishers and advertising agency owners an tv stations and a creative force,acknowledged.
I felt part of the world.
Ha,that was a chapter.
Each time,all was wonderful,when they knocked on my door,
asking me to come up with the creative concept for an ad campaign,to illustrate and then even place the ads in the paper.
The sour moment,was when I had to get paid.
I would get the most absurd answers and refutes and propositions and insults.
I could write a horror story about the experiences that I endured.
They are so shocking and painful.
I keep them stored, somewhere in the back of my mind as I feel ill, everytime I have a flashback.
Hitchcock,Ionesco ,Kafka and Bosch altogether.
And then , my mother's reminder, the words of Confucius:
" If you hate someone,your liver gets sick"
My mother was studying Asian Culture at the Jagiellonian University before the war.
I must have inherited from her,my fascination for Chinese and Japanese Culture as much as I am interested in other cultures.
After the war,in Zurich,destitute, my mother found in a bookstore , The Anaclets of Confucius".
She was not able to return to Cracow,for her sister in law.Marylka Lauer, who lived there,was hiding Raoul Wallenberg,the Swedish "hero",manipulated my mother's rights and wanted her to be as far as possible.