The Art of Armando Tejuca

T h e C o l o r s o f t h e m u s i c

As Don Quixote put it (and not Cervantes, who was a crazy-one-armed-man who thought he had written the best novel ever, with the only hand he had left): "There is nothing bad where there is music." Music is the art of happiness, and the fact that Tejuca's art was going to welcome music and musicians was just a matter of time. His paintings are happy as reflected in his recurring series about the circus, surrealistic creatures and women of-dreams.

Another important fact is that if a list of joyful musical styles was ever made few, if any, would score higher than Cuban music. Though it is known that joy is not synonymous with happiness. Happiness may also arise from sadness, as the sad rumba song; "Lagrimas Negras"(Black Tears) proves. Happiness is deep-hearted joy, tranquility, always enjoyable. The happiness of Cuban music, which fades with the last notes, was calling for a way to become everlasting and there is where Tejuca's brush strokes make magic with their feast of colors, guided by his spirit of an avid and good-natured child. There comes a time in the life of an artist when he realizes that things always happen for a reason. For many years now the main influence on Tejuca's work has come from the Jewish Russian-French painter Marc Chagall. Both artists' paintings are deeply rooted in their memories of childhood and the most authentic traditions of their peoples, trying to draw from them the largest amounts of happiness possible. Between them there is a spiritual coincidence rather than a resemblance.

There are also some sorts of coincidences with Eduardo Abela, another Cuban painter who also was searching for the so-called "Lost Paradise." The happiness of Chagall's paintings never concealed the relentless persecution suffered by Jews in Czarist Russia, the same way Tejuca's musicians never belie the countless drownings of rafters in the strait of Florida. Tejuca's work is not an escape, but a painstaking search: the search for happiness when there seems to be no hope. Tejuca's musicians persistently announce that happiness with their trumpets, their loving violins and their wavy pianos filling the air with some magic music we try to grasp intuitively as we watch them. His musicians announce the arrival of happiness, but one can never truly find the origins of that happiness without tracing back every brush stroke into Tejuca's pure soul.

Enrique Del Risco

Translation: Francisco Nieves