Presentation of Luis Zaldívar

[The 1944 revolution referred to is the overthrow of the military government of General Jorge Ubico.]

I think that the creator of this print album Gathering of the People: March-April 1962 needs no introduction. His work is becoming more widely known as he continues to struggle alongside the people. This struggle will give him his place in the history of Guatemalan art. As a particular homage to the youth, Luis Zaldívar presents this album of prints to the people of Guatemala.

Zaldívar has been honored with this publication, the second album of prints published since the October 1944 revolution. The first album was inspired by the people's struggle in defense of their national sovereignty and the revolutionary program of economic independence. At that time, Zaldívar participated in that album project by contributing a woodcut with the theme "The Road to the Atlantic." It is not a coincidence that the history of printmaking in Guatemala is united to the deepest and most ardent struggles of the Guatemalan people for their national independence and dignity.

These conferences during March and April of this year represent, in the history of the Youth Movement and its popular struggle against tyranny and defeat, an important milestone both in militancy, spirit, and political experience and in artistic, literary, and musical expression, which despite repressive measures, continues in its militant attitude on behalf of the independence and democracy in our country. The depth and importance of our people's experience has touched even the souls of the artists, who are now inspired by and participate in its daily struggle even in the streets. Furthermore, as Nicolás Guillén said: "Why should the artist reject politics, when politics is the symbol of our age? This, the political, the human, which encompasses and surrounds us, is indespensible so that the work of art can live as such."

From the people's struggles, from its youth and its martyrs, arises Zaldívar as a pioneer of the sort of artist who knows that it is not possible to remain on the sidelines beside this beautiful struggle for freedom. Zaldívar's artistic ability, his personal experience, his commitment to art, and his creativity are all united to the future of Guatemala. Zaldívar remains closely linked to the people, and it is precisely in works that show that link, where he is able to realize with the greatest ease such prints of great artistic and human value.

These words accompany his focus on the combative mood which has obviously inspired his chisels, as they depict the people attempting to recover their liberty and dignity.

Fernando Hernández y Hernández

18th Anniversary of the October Revolution
Guatemala, 1962


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