O Dia, Brazil
Camino de Santiago, November-December 2007
Today I find myself here again in Cebreiro, 17 years later.
I love this place, for it was here that Paulo found his sword. This is where the transubstantiation of bread into flesh and wine into blood took place.
I left a heart here, near a stone wall, and the other paintings further ahead. In front of these paintings stands a wall with two letters and a book between the stones. I also left another eight paintings buried, worked with leaves and shells, and another three inside a bush, untouched, because it rains and snows here, so I want to see how this will interfere with the blank canvases.
Yesterday I was in León and made arrangements for four exhibitions: one there, another in Astorga, then Ponferrada and Bembibre.
On 29 November I was in Puente la Reina, where I unearthed the painting I had done in a field of sunflowers. And I also left six more with flowers and shells, which I plan to dig up in May.
Tomorrow, God willing, I reach Santiago.
Léo in the World of Mirrors (Léo no Mundo do Espelho) is a children’s book that speaks of fears and overcoming difficulties. Full of imaginary elements, the book would not be complete without the illustrations of Christina Oiticica. A must have for every family.
Author: Patricia Carneiro de Luna
Publicaton date: 2007
The Road to Santiago, July 2007
I traveled along the Camino to dig up the paintings I had left there, at Páramos in Calzadilla de la Cueza and Hospital de Orbigo. This turned out to be a great surprise, for they were as happy as springtime.
As I always do, I went to Velloria de Rioja to visit my friend Acácio. This time he came with his sister, Maria Fernanda, who was following the Camino in stages. Orietta had to stay behind because of the many pilgrims at this time of the year.
There was a Korean in the hostel who started to cry when she saw me. She had read all of Paulo’s books. She was very moved and gave me a present.
In Calzadilla we met Cesar, who once more helped us to dig up the paintings.
Then we went on to Hospital de Orbigo to meet Emilio, a journalist for the Diário de Leon, which published an excellent piece by him on 25 July, Santiago’s day. He had come to meet me when I came to bury the paintings, and now again at the moment of digging them up. I showed him the diary and some paintings of Páramo and Calzadilla that I had framed.
We went along to dig up the paintings at Hospital de Orbigo. They were so beautiful! Pedro was not there, but his family appeared for the event.
The next day we went on to Puente la Reina to set up the exhibit at the El Peregrino Hotel and do the piece for ELLE magazine with Gema Veiga and the photographer Conrad White. We chatted over dinner after spending the whole day setting up the exhibit.
Like an herbalist, I placed several paintings together to form panels. And the next day we went out to take the photographs, and of course I had no idea what I was going to create. There was a canvas I had bought in Pamplona, I was worried because I did not know and was not familiar with that material. I had already had some problems with the canvas I had taken to Santo Domingo, San Juan de Ortega and Castrojerriz, but I had to work and demonstrate how assured I was, because I was with a journalist and a photographer whom I did not know.
I began to press the canvas against the stones of that famous, beautiful bridge. The tubes of watercolour that I was using were new and it was difficult to achieve the effect that I was after. I thought of taking the canvas down to the river, but I spotted a pilgrim and wanted him to walk on top of the canvas. So I waited for him to arrive and make my request. I went down, dipped the canvas in the river and it took on a totally different texture, went soft and flexible, and the marks of the tubes were diluted.
I went to the field of sunflowers and started working with the texture of the center of the flower, like a stamp, and buried it near El Peregrino.
This exhibit was very beautiful and my old friends were there to help me: Marcelo, Acácio and Orietta.
My friend Suzana also came to pick up her painting which had been buried in the gardens of El Peregrino. It was a mouth and heart with the symbol of Mary.
Four days ago my friend Acácio sent me the following e-mail:
HI, MY FRIENDS!
I HAVE JUST RECEIVED a telephone call from ENRIQUE at the Gaia cellar in Foncebadón. As soon as he opened his restaurant today he noticed that the paintings were gone. The big stone we had placed on top was no longer there, and the earth had been shifted about. He was very sad when he called and made a hundred apologies, but we know that the Way to Santiago has for many years had its share of SCOUNDRELS (both male and female).
Christina, I suggest that you paint something in Foncebadón; meditate and we shall see what we can do.
I am especially sad because these were the paintings done in Cruz de Ferro, the ones that invoked the four archangels. Tomás and everyone else was there, standing in the rain with the tourists, pilgrim Naide who had come from Le Puy, ourselves …
Let’s pray that the soul who took the paintings has no problems. We know the strength of prayer, the strength of the Way, the strength of Foncebadón and Cruz de Ferro … LET US PRAY!!!
Well, dear friend, this is sad news indeed, but I am going to meditate to understand the REASON FOR ALL THIS.
Even so, we shall go there, for FONCEBADÓN is a living legend that Paulo has premeditated so much about, and so much has still to happen.
In five days´ time I will be leaving here for the Camino to gather the springtime harvest.
We went to Cruz de Ferro, one of the oldest monuments to Mercury on the Way to Santiago. Every pilgrim who passes by there has to leave a stone.
Tomas came along with a pilgrim who had been traveling all the way from Le Puy.
I had painted four canvases and placed them inside a heart made with branches.
Tomas arrived with his sword and performed the Templar ritual of the Four Archangels.
In the meantime, a group of cyclists from Tarbes arrived, wanting to know whose car it was with that city’s license plates. I could not even pay them any attention, because we were just about to invoke the archangels. And then a bus-load of tourists arrived, with the guide shouting out: “take your photos and let’s get going!” – a really crazy scene.
It all ended with a downpour, and the rain did its work.
We next went to Foncebadón to leave the paintings planted in the garden of Gaia.
We went to Hospital de Orbigo. The idea was to work on the bridge, which tells a beautiful story. A knight fell in love with a noble-woman of the city who did not respond to his love. He spent many years fighting with other knights who wanted to cross the bridge to ask for the hand of his beloved. After many years, when he had slain 500 knights, his beloved finally consented to marry him. The bridge became known as Pase Honroso.
We went to Pedro’s hostel, which is very nice and has a gallery of paintings, some done by pilgrims who have spent the night in the lodge. Every year he also organizes a painting festival, which is a big hit and attracts painters from all over.
Pedro is an enthusiast of the Camino, and his life underwent a great change after a serious health problem.
He took us down to the marvelous bridge, told the story, and helped me to stamp the stones of the path across the bridge. Some pilgrims walked on top of my painting, which I had stretched out on the bridge.
Afterwards, we went down to the banks of the River Orbigo and I began to look for the local flowers. I made a series with sixteen paintings.
A journalist also joined us to start writing an article; he’ll come back when it is time for me to dig up the paintings.
Then we went to plant these paintings in a special place.
We went back to the hostel to have breakfast with all the pilgrims who were there and with Pedro’s mother, who had come over to meet us.
Sunday, and since I don’t work on Sundays we got into the car and drove over to Astorga. After Astorga, Acácio and I went to Foncebadón and Cruz de Ferro to have a look at the place where I planned to place the paintings and speak with another two of the Camino’s characters.
In Foncebadón there is a legend (included in Paulo’s book The Diary of a Magus) that says that the town will rise up from its ashes, after being completely in ruins.
When Henrique began to build his beautiful medieval-style restaurant, the pilgrims would pass by and comment that they were fulfilling Paulo Coelho’s prophecy. He did not know what it was all about until the day he bought the book in Santiago, and then he understood.
Then we went to a hostel where Tomas lives in Monjarim el Acebo, near the Cruz de Ferro. Tomas is an old fishmonger who was ordered in a dream to live on the Camino. He performs rituals dressed in Templar’s clothes and wearing a sword. Here, in the wintertime, the snow is as high as his door, and the pilgrims are always greeted with hot coffee and lots of stories.
On the way back to Astorga we saw a beautiful rainbow.
On the following morning we went to Calzadilla de la Cueza and I began my work outdoors, once again with the local flowers. Christian turned up that day, an Austrian journalist-cum-photographer who lives on the Camino.
At a certain moment I was taken by surprise by a flock of sheep.
I did a piece of work where the small paintings were numbered to form a panel. I don’t know how I will assemble this – I will need a very big wall.
I buried the paintings at Cesar’s hostel, with the help of Nene, a Brazilian hostel-owner.
Then we went to Calzadilla de la Cueza to meet one of the Camino’s’s characters. Cezar is the owner of a super-comfortable hostel, which even boasts a swimming-pool – as well as a delicious restaurant.
Cezar is a cowboy of the Camino – they even say that Shirley MacLaine wrote in her book about meeting him (she must have recalled her American desert and John Wayne).
He very kindly invited us to lunch, and after eating I decided to start on a new painting. There was a beautiful weeping willow there, a tree that I love so much I even had one planted in St. Martin.
I decided to stamp the relief of the trunk on the canvas, then divide this canvas into thirty small pictures, my idea being to continue with the flowers of spring. I would come back the next day to finish the work, because I felt exhausted.
When I returned to the Camino de Santiago in the month of June, I did not know which piece of work I would develop; I took small canvases, a roll and pastel pigment paints. The places where the works were to be “planted” were more or less decided upon. I had very few days to develop the paintings, for I arrived on the 14th of June and had to return on the 21st.
I reached Veloria de Rioja on the 14th of June to meet Acácio, and we went to Carrión de los Condes. I had thought of preparing something for the next day, but the inspiration did not come.
14th of June
I arranged with Acácio that we would place some works in the middle of the Camino, so we stopped here, a place that many pilgrims normally skip because they find the spot uninteresting. It is a plateau that turns into a desert in the summer. When I did my pilgrimage in the summer of 1990, I found it all extraordinarily beautiful.
What I came across now was an immense garden filled with lovely flowers with strong colors, like yellow and red poppies. I decided to do a whole piece with these flowers.
Right at that moment it was as if everything else around me was out of focus and my energy was concentrated solely on my work. I produced ten pictures and left them buried in the middle of the Camino (among them a picture of a mouth that I took to the Amazon in 2004 and which an Indian girl had altered).
I felt that connecting the Brazilian Amazon with the Camino de Santiago would make a splendid fusion.
For a period of two years, from May 2007 to May 2009, Christina Oiticica will be exhibiting paintings composed in partnership with Nature in the gallery of the El Peregrino Hotel in Puente la Reina, a stop on the Road to Santiago.
The artist composes her paintings in different places along the Road: using the relief of stones, the intervention of the rain, snow, the color of the earth, natural pigments and wax. Once composed, they are “planted” in the earth and recovered months later.
From this original process that combines land art and painting, symbolic and abstract canvases emerge that convey the energy of the place where they were composed.
The fact that this exhibit is taking place in Puente la Reina, where all paths to Santiago converge into one, is not accidental: the intention is to show the pilgrims another road, one marked by their steps, hopes and memories.
In this process the artist follows the inspiration taken from the words of the French writer André Gide: “Art is collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist intervenes, the better.”
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. These cookies ensure basic functionalities and security features of the website, anonymously.
|cookielawinfo-checbox-analytics||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".|
|cookielawinfo-checbox-functional||11 months||The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".|
|cookielawinfo-checbox-others||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".|
Functional cookies help to perform certain functionalities like sharing the content of the website on social media platforms, collect feedbacks, and other third-party features.
Performance cookies are used to understand and analyze the key performance indexes of the website which helps in delivering a better user experience for the visitors.
Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc.
Advertisement cookies are used to provide visitors with relevant ads and marketing campaigns. These cookies track visitors across websites and collect information to provide customized ads.
Other uncategorized cookies are those that are being analyzed and have not been classified into a category as yet.