Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Dona Soledade ,my principal
In 1975,at the occasion of my first solo show of drawings at Galeria Multipla das Artes,in Sao Paulo,by the invitation of Edla Van Steen ,few days after the opening ,a card was left there for me.
It turned out to be by Dona Soledade Santos,my principal from the school I attended ,Colegio Rio Branco,since kindergarten to the first years of Classico.which would be equivalent to the 12th grade in the US.Dona Soledade,was a very austere lady,very elegant and always watching over me.I believed that she was quite severe with me,as when I was seven years old,I gave a lot of trouble to my teacher,as I liked to get up in class in the middle of a session,go to the door and get out.My mother was called a number of times ,as I was scolded for my running away.The reason was that I got bored......
So,I grew up believing that although I always remember Dona Soledade with a big smile,
as when I returned from Rio de Janeiro,where my parents and I moved for two years,that maybe she did not like me or care for me.
When I found the card,nine years later,and not having seen her for all these years,I was mystified for the reason that brought her to look for me in a distant part of the city,Morumbi,where the gallery was and for why she was asking me to visit her at the school.where she "still " was,as she herself remarked.She was asking me to come along with my mother.
Regrettably,I kept the card and did not go to see her,then a year later,in 1976, I left for New York,carrying with me the card as a talisman.
Dona Soledade was always on my mind and in 1979,I wrote to her.
I cannot understand myself why I did not visit her years ago.
I then receive a large envelope in the mail.
To my surprise,Dona Soledade,kept my first writing tests,from the first one in 1957,when I refused to write down numbers from 1 to 10 and all of my name dated February 18,1957.
The next one was the one 59 days later ,dated June 4,1957 where I am writing currently,and the other one is from September 19, 1957, where I describe Dona Soledade.I end he paragraph saying that she is good looking and dresses very well.
Besides,she writes to me two long letters,telling me how she got quite upset by the fact that i did not respond to the card she had left for me,and imagined that I would be very surprised to learn that she kept for all these years,from 1957 to 1979 my tests,the only ones from all the students,as she believed that I would become recognized in my life,as an artist,and that she constantly followed my career,which I started when I was 10 years old.
Dona Soledade also gave me a set of wonderful words to keep in mind,that she received when she was fifteen years old herself and that served her for life"Caminhe,caminhe,minha filha.O que tera de ser seu,vira ao seu encontro".
"Walk, keep always walking,my dear.What belongs to you,will come to you ".
She described my small drawings,on the top of the test pages,analyzing from these little images,my vision of life and advised me never to abandon hope when facing hardship and not to be full of myself when I achieve success.To maintain a balance is the way to live.Do not be let down when things go wrong .Everything passes.Try to be stable.You,will therefore find the reason of being.Life is an eternal walk.
She also sends me her photo asking me to create an artwork for her..
We corresponded until 1991.,when she wrote to me last,that she could not see very well due to old age.I miss Dona Soledade,but she lives in my heart forever and her words bring me comfort when I am in distress.