TO MAIN ART GALLERY
(El Salvador is Present)
Mark Vallen 1994
Lithograph - 14" x 18" inches
this artwork on Saatchi Art.
years after El Salvador's civil war ended in 1992,
I would create my drawing, El Salvador Presente,
a visual summation of my attitude towards that Central
American nation's long conflict. "Presente" (Present),
is a word called out after the name of someone deceased
is mentioned, it is a way of acknowledging that the
person's spirit is still with us.
drawing carries a reference to the slain Monseñor
Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the former Archbishop of San
Salvador who was murdered by a right-wing death squad
on March 24, 1980 while celebrating mass. He was shot
down one day after giving a sermon where he called
upon Salvadoran soldiers to stop the repression against
the people and to respect their basic human rights.
In my artwork I
emblazoned his name on a cross carried by the demonstrators
1994 my drawing was published as a front cover for
the independent political journal, CrossRoads,
along with the following statement from me:
the years I have learned many invaluable lessons from
the Salvadoran people - lessons concerning what it
means to love and sacrifice for a community, about
the indispensability of culture in that struggle,
lessons regarding faith and irrepressible human spirit.
This work expresses the gratitude and indebtedness
I feel for receiving these gifts.'
a doubt the war in El Salvador changed the face of
America, some 2 million Salvadoreños now live in the
U.S., with most of them calling L.A. home. It may
appear that my drawing portrays a scene from a Salvadoran
city like Chalatenango, Soyapango, or Zacatecoluca,
but in actuality all of my models were Salvadoreños
found on the streets of Los Angeles."