A Plead for the Importance of Visual Awareness – Learning My Roots

“Education”,  you said the word, isn’t it the foundation of our growing?  Confucius could certainly find better definition, certainly you have the true expertise to debate in ways it would not be possibly for me to consider. As you very appropriately defined the bottom line of our meeting I will try, in my ‘clumsy way ‘, to plead my case.

By all means, I am just only in need to demonstrate that ‘education’ too often associated to the ‘knowledge’ that uses words  [ or at least sentences ] must consider images as an ‘eye opener’ [ so to speak ]. Didn’t the origin of the written ‘word’ started with an ‘image’? Obviously this field is endless, for our purpose I will like to narrow it down to engraved images originated from the Iberian culture. Focusing on they impact on our daily world and how they have ‘educated’ me on shaping my work and on response to situations and how they are relevant to education. For example the simple fact that one Manhattan High School class is unable to identify a detail image belonging to the ‘logo’ of the city of New York  pasted big in the outside walls under the entrance of the school, is to me alarming. Too often people say ‘listen’ but rarely ‘look’!

Goya’ s donkey

And as we do look, and  I do hope this image does not relate to your case,  in a peculiar ways it is familiar to mine, not just because too often been called “a donkey” by my parents and masters but rather because of the difficult process of learning similar to painful ‘barbaric’ experiences. What is necessary to be that way?

Goya’s guerra

“education” is not about knowing of ‘fancy’ museum paintings and if so then it could only be describe as ‘art’ running away from it’s main purpose: communication and harmonious development of the mind. Goya, the artist is the very first on driving the nail into the misinformation and  the misuse of ‘ lettra ‘…but on the same way of the image . Regardless the subject matter beauty or cruelty we must look, we should not blind ourselves, as our true learning depend upon it.

Goya’s guerra

Our learning generates a thought, this trigger a response, we share our views, feelings and concerns …Goya’s etchings did not age, this image could very well be his being rape woman could very well be today’s one in Darfur or any invaded country plague by ragging wars.

Goya’s “liberty”

I allow myself to rename this image ” liberty”…men generate wars women guide to freedom? Basically there is no difference so ever between this image and the painting of French painter Eugene Delacroix [ “la liberte guidant le peuple”]…

plastic Liberty in 5 Avenue New York

and  consequently the statue of Liberty, it does not matter which material, reproduced out of plastic displaying in ‘ la quinta ‘.

Enano of Velazquez by Goya

We must trace back roots, or history,  as beneficial ‘educational’ tools, in the same manner Goya’s reinvented  is master Velasquez …here again the same book, Velasquez spirit passing to Goya’s engravings, on to us…

Victoria no secrets !

El torero despierta 24 horas después de su salida de quirófano tras sufrir una grave cornada en México“. from  El Pais . This  image  posted  today’s April 26th 2010 [as I am writing] in El Pais. Certainly an event to distracts from others ones,  in one way the Spanish’s ‘deja vu’ product of exportation …to Mexico this time. Never the word ‘ Victoria ‘ has been more tellin., But if we dig in a lesser superficial way, maybe there is a relevant ‘ learning ‘ from images provide to us that we can use for clarifying or questioning our thoughts and emotions deep inside each one of us…

Goya’s unfortunate

This requires that images be above banality, here in full display a living example of Goya brilliantly. Without having our saying we are taken away from the click of the button camera instant ‘reporting’. The proof that a mind and a hand in perfect harmony are able to surpass it: Goya describe the horror, the panic,  he makes us feel sick and we wonder if what appears in the picture belong indeed to our human world.

framed matador, Soho Gallery Exhibition Friday April 23, 2010

Matador again, in fact the real horror come from such image as the one above framed and expose for our eyes, empty of substance,  witnessed in Soho New York Gallery’s opening last Friday April 23, 2010 [ a former church recycle into a gallery]. The urgency that drive my purpose is simple : ” give back to Caesar what belong to him ” , educate people about quality imagery with significant message content. This may not make us possibly better off, but certainly less mentally numb .

Reversing Field, book cover in progress

After having shown the great  Spanish master above,  I come with serious embarrassment while sticking at the bottom of this post  the very  image I am presently working on,  a book cover named “Reversing Field”. Still, I am almost certain that ‘education ‘ comes with the desire of accepting challenge with possible failure, in my case the above image aims not just to respond to an assignment from The West Virginia University Press, but potentially to help to eradicate terrible abuses relating to sports in colleges and universities in this country [particularly  minority young female athletes], and with some little hope elsewhere as well…

Fighting Malaria, Weill Cornell Medicine, university.

Last February, an art professor of Spanish /Basque origin invited me at the Western Connecticut State University to give a lecture and a critic as part of the Master of Fine Arts Visual Arts Program, its was a response to engravings of mine published by the New York Times. In April the Profesor Titular de Teoría da Literatura, Secretario do Centro de Estudos Fílmicos da USC [Santiago de Compostela ] Facultade de Filoloxía asked me to grant him permission to use one of my images for the University website. I will argue being the solid proof that my works may very well have Iberian grounding.

hunger, Harper’s Magazine

To this day I can count over 15 universities I have been working for, still I will not consider myself a professional educator but rather a supportive and dedicated contributor. Further more I do not view ‘education’ limited inside the walls of classrooms but rather needing to have a sound impact in less privileged and most needed sites, such as fighting disease [ malaria, HIV AIDS …] environment, injustices, poverty and hunger; all issues I have been call to illustrate.

” being poor “, Science Christian Monitor

In which way can I share my experience and skills to improve our living world ? Definitely not “contra el bien general “!

Thank you for your time, Best Regards, Raymond


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