As part of my MA field research in the mid eighties, I went to Nicaragua intending to interview artists about the role of art and culture in the process of social change during the Sandinista revolution.

The three months I had allocated for the task stretched into a bit more than two years. I learned Spanish, taught experimental drawing at the National Art School and gave workshops at popular cultural centres in remote areas.

I visited archeological sites and learned about community art practice by tagging along with artists and cultural workers. I also learned to wait. We waited for transportation, waited for rations, waited for art supplies, rain, and people. While waiting, I filled a few sketchbooks and shot endless rolls of film.

Many of my sketches transformed into etchings back home in the printmaking studio at York University.

I titled my MA thesis exhibition “Si no fuera por la Guerra” (if it weren’t for the war), something many Nicaraguans would sigh in light of the constant threat of counter revolutionary attacks, "soft target" victims, the economic blockade and mercenaries courtesy of the US throughout the eighties.

Following my recent visit, 25 years after the fall of the Sandinista government, I re-purposed most of my old prints in the series "Political Art Through the Ages" and "Revolution Square", and created a new series of lithographs of empty coffee cups.

The war may be over, but the struggle for social and economic justice continues in Nicaragua.

 

 

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