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14 Sep - 17 Oct
“Contigo aprendí” (“With you”)is an exhibition about sins. Well, pleasures too. Actually, they are the same thing, aren’t they? I don’t know, a friend of mine, sometimes she has a good time, and then, somehow, they make feel guilty. But no, this isn’t about the sins they taught my friend in the conventl; it’s about some sins, let’s say, more updated. Let’s say it’s the same dog, different collar (isn’t that how you say it?). These are sins that they teach you without the Bible in front of you, but suddenly, in a covert and seemingly affectionate way, everyone teaches you what you’re doing wrong, and what you should do right. You know those questions that you keep hearing, that seem harmless, but sometimes make you rethink if you’re living your life correctly? Interestingly, all the things we do wrong have to do with our mouths, how we speak, what we eat, what we drink, what we bite (this hasn’t changed much from the sins of all time). A kiss to all those people who ask so much!
Whether you smoke too much, have too little sex, have found a serious job yet, have bought a house yet, how many kids you have, this and that… These are questions that can come out of the mouth of your fifth-floor neighbour, your boss, your Aunt Encarni, or your sister’s brother-in-law’s friend’s cousin’s uncle, who, right after giving you saying hi to you, asks you these kinds of things. As if there’s only one way to live life… And then, it’s our mouths that sin! But still, besame mucho.
The point is, for example, when my friend decides to go out one night, what “behave yourself” really means still echoes in her mind, which actually means “don’t have too much fun.” If she drinks, kisses, or talks, keeping her mouth shut in general is behaving well. So, my friend always struggles (not just when she goes out at night) between behaving or having a good time, between keeping her mouth open or closed… What a dilemma! Of course, this all happens to my friend. I, on the other hand, always choose to behave well, always with my little mouth shut at home.
Any day my friend wakes up happy and in the mood for some fun, someone will remind her, not only to behave well but also to be responsible and mature, as she’s almost 40 years old and not a young girl anymore. Can you believe a young girl has the kind of experience my friend has twerking on the floor? She’s been perfecting the booty-shaking technique for 20 years! So, a little kiss for them, my dear.
Do you know those people who smile continuously, regardless of the situation or the person they’re in front of, and everyone loves them for their poise and kindness? Another kiss for those people, but no, my friend is not one of them. She smiles when she wants to, when her body craves it. Now, when she smiles, as she does with such undeniable truth, that smile fixes your life in an instant.
My friend loves Paco, her fourth husband. She says that of the four, he gives her the least trouble (she’s always had a certain attraction to ex- convicts…). Although she loves him, loves him madly, and they’ve been together for quite some time, she sometimes has to remind him that her passion isn’t going to Burundi to build hospitals and schools, that enough is enough with all the missionary work. Paco, wake up a bit, my son! Some nibbles for Paco.Have you never heard those people who claim to be very modern and liberated?
Until my friend tells them that she had an open relationship with her second husband, that the third one loved dressing up as a gasman and entering the bedroom like a macho man (he was an interior decorator and, obviously, an ex- convict), and that everyone, including the first and the fourth (Paco), loved her rim jobs. With you, I learned to imagine the faces of those people when my friend finishes telling them… A kiss and a speedy recovery.
Oh! And when she achieves something, someone will always try to talk about the luck she’s had or how grateful she should be to someone for getting her where she is. My friend responds with a forced, tense, and silent smile, remembering all the effort and sacrifice she has made to get where she is. Luck? You’re lucky that my friend still puts up with you all, my friends! No kisses for you.
When I say this about my friend, it may seem like she’s angry with the world, or that she’s a bit unfriendly or not very affectionate, but quite the opposite. She’s one of those people who calls everyone “goldito”, or “cutie.” When we talk about these things, she always says that life is like a piece of chocolate (not a box of chocolates, don’t confuse it with the famous line from that movie), that you have to let it melt in your mouth for a while, slowly as its flavour spreads from your palate to the back of your throat, until you get to the middle of it, which is a bit harder, and then take little bites.
So, all of that and much more (there are things we can’t write here due to legal and tax reasons) is what I’ve learned from my friend. That life is one, there is no more (as far as we know for sure), so we better enjoy it as we please and ignore all those voices that whisper or shout if what we’re doing is right, wrong, or just okay. Enjoying it? Then everything is just fine. So, from now on, I’ll think more on whether to behave or have a good time. Thank you very much, my friend, for you, the biggest kiss of all.
Contigo aprendí by Ana Barriga and Guillermo Amaya
“My Ana Barriga”
“My Ana Barriga” Ana Barriga is the bright side of life. Light. Colour. Love. Laughter. Her work is her perspective on things, a place where there is always room for good people. Her environment has made her strong. Her family, her teachers, her friends, her people… Because she finds treasure on every island, in every sea. Her steps are her identity. And ours. Because she is one of the greats. A powerful identity that beats between her colours and permeates into everything it touches. Her soul is in every corner of her paintings and of her sculpture. An explosion of energy that displays a captivating talent that respects, celebrates, embraces diversity and difference.
Discipline, perseverance, respect, rigour, and a will to be happy, conscious, and deliberate. Because that is a very serious decision. As serious as art, which completes human beings and, if allowed, brings meaning to their lives. Ana Barriga is the world. A world without borders, a kinder world since she inhabits it. “Contigo Aprendí” is an exhibition that speaks of sins, pleasures, the audacity of opinions, bad manners, arrogance in the gaze, looking into
the eyes, devouring each other’s mouths, or closing it if they haven’t asked you first. Freedom. Profound freedom. The one born from serene eyes that judge nothing and no one. From those wings that take flight over heads filled with bad ideas, furrowed brows, false certainties. Each painting is a sigh that dwells in the truths of each of us. Hold on to it. Gain momentum. Laugh at yourself. And stop giving explanations. You won’t convince anyone of what they don’t want to understand. Perhaps, through the windows that Ana Barriga opens, we can see the horizon more clearly. And much more fun.
Impressions from an admirer. Cayetana Guillén Cuervo.
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