A Film Interview with artist José María Mijares
GIRAL MEDIA PRODUCTION announces a new production in the works, Conquering the White a documentary about the life and art of Jose Maria Mijares ( La Habana 1921-Miami 2004), produced and directed by Sergio Giral. In an impressive interview with Mijares, the artist tells his ordeal and achievement along his life, his up and down with escapism through drugs, and his final redemption when found true love in his last years. Mijares is one of the most outstanding Cuban painters who represent different stages and art currents from the thirties till today, in Cuba as well as in United State. Born in a humble cradle, Mijares always counted with his mother help to develop his talent and skills. “Neither poverty nor wealth determine anything in life; if you have something to say, you will say it, regardless of the circumstances”. This definite statement made by the artist tells of his iron will and rich personality.
A scholarship allowed Mijares to study at San Alejandro, the traditional and famous Cuban Art School, where he shared his years of learning with celebrities, such as Fidelio Ponce, Carlos Enriquez, Rene Portocarrero, Cundo Bermudez and others from preceding generations. It was time of boundless art currents traveling throughout the world. European painters influenced their equivalent in distant places and Cuban painters were one of the must fortunate. This was the period Cuban culture gained prestige but also days where the art market was limited to middle class and some professionals. Many years has to pass until wealthy art collectors care for the extraordinary body or work of artists like Mijares.Mijares left Cuba definitely in 1968. “Lack of freedom is what makes the system unbearable. There is no dictatorship of the proletariat, but of the police state. Some people can stand it; I would die”, expresses the artist in his interview. Since them, Mijares resided in Miami, dedicating his work to a valid and profound nostalgia of Cuban landscape, light and motives. “Exile hasn't affected me, because in my subconscious there is an inner landscape which is Cuba. Since I was exiled at an older age that landscape cannot be erased."
This documentary depicts Mijares’ main concept about painting, when he expresses that “conquering the white is the philosophical stone of all painters, a white canvas is the challenge that every artist have to overcome’. Mijares, who is considered a Cuban cultural institution, died Mar 31 at age of 82 years in Miami as a result of respiratory problems. Cuban exiles and art lovers around the world will maintain their devotion to this unique artist. Conquering the White counts with biographic archival footage completing the portrait of this excellent artist.
Conquering the White, Miami 2010
Produced and Directed by Sergio Giral
Color (45 min.)
A GIRAL MEDIA PRODUCTION