Sunday, June 17, 2012

Emigrantes by Domingos Rebelo

Emigrantes was one of my father's favorite paintings if not his favorite. Domingos Rebelo--the most famous Azorean painter--actually created two variations of this work. One is in Terceira and the other is being stored in Sao Miguel until a museum renovation is completed. The main differences between the two are the coloring. One is much more vibrant than the other and I believe the images below are of the two different variants so you can compare for yourself.

This painting is surprisingly complex and is supposed to convey the experience of Portuguese emigrants heading off for new lives away from their homeland. What I find brilliant about it is every single person in the painting is a unique character that tells a story from a specific perspective and every object in the work has meaning. This painting has been up on the wall of my mom's house for eternity and there are elements I never noticed until reading my father's thesis on Domingos Rebelo. For example, there is an American woman on the right perhaps reflecting on what her life would be like if she had never left. Also, there is framed religious shrine in the center which was the most important thing to an emigrant outside of their family and the clothes on their back.

I'm hoping to see the original in Terceira on one of my future trips to the Azores. I think I will appreciate it much more than when I was younger.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

18 Year Anniversary of Duarte's Passing

January 3rd, 1994 was the day my father passed away. I was only 12 years old at the time, but remember the night like it was yesterday. My mother had me staying over at a friend's house and I was woken early in the night by my friend's older sister--Vera--who had the unfortunate job of breaking the bad news to me. I'm sure it wasn't easy. Ze Monico was the one who drove me home that night, and told me how everything was going to be okay. I also remember him telling me how peaceful it was that night and how my father was a great man and will always watch over my mother and I.

When I made it home, our living room was filled with people grieving over my father's passing. I touched his hand one last time, my mother broke down in tears, and eventually we retired upstairs to try to get some rest. My role model was gone...

Now 18 years later, rarely does a day go by where I don't think of the things he accomplished in his life. The friends he made, his ability to always put others first, his sense of humor, his patience, his artwork, his perfectionism, his passion for music and technology. My only hope is to accomplish half the things he was able to in his short lifetime, and even that is very optimistic.

Dad, I'm grateful for the 12 years we had together. You will always be missed.