I paint my life, my family, Colombia, Latin America.I paint myself: “Earthquake or volcanic eruption”, murmured Doña Agripina Idarraga de Zapata, my grandmother, as she chased the third snake out of the house that very day. So I waited outside in the pathio all day, but nothing happened. Just the usual daily events: the bloody as well as the euphoric, the fantastic as well as the provable: A worker lost a finger in the sugar cane press, whereupon the question arose whether it would be a sin to consume this molasses with human flesh. A cow had given birth to twins. Petrona, the black cook packed her things and set off on the long journey to her shaman on the Pacific coast, because she dreamt 3 times of a raven vulture. Again grandfather was sent a newborn illegitimate child embedded in a copper cauldron by one of his mestizo peasant women, which made my grandmother very happy this time as the cauldron handles were big enough for her strong hands. Aunt Carmen did her daily posture exercises with a book on her head and cane shoes; she was the most beautiful of the 12 sisters, so she was raised for the “profession” of beauty queen. While cleaning her revolver, Aunt Luciola almost hit my cousin Orlando. Aunt Genoveva and Aunt Hermenegilda got into each other’s hair several times because of Guillermo Ledesma and, like Siamesas grown on their heads, they roamed the whole Pathio several times, to the delight of the more than 20 children. So without an earthquake or volcanic eruption the day ended and disappointed by the omniscience and power of my grandmother I also went to bed. It was not until the next day, very early, that the 3 snakes took on their meaning, when my grandmother galloped screaming back from the village of Betania and rode almost right into the veranda. Her spurs and boots were full of horse’s blood, she was twitching with anger and breathing heavily. She gathered her five sons and the illegitimate sons of her husband, whom she had raised, into the house. Don Segundo Arias had insulted her by asking her why she goes to church if it will not help her anyway, since she raises her daughters like men or whores. My grandmother demanded that her sons kill this man….
Image Copyright Antonio Zapata.