Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Great Romani artists - Helios Gomez

If you've never heard of Helios Gomez, neither had I. 

Even the present-day Spanish authorities aren't too comfortable with his memory, and have partly or wholly destroyed the beautiful  Capilla Gitana, - Gypsy Chapel  - which he created by painting frescoes on the walls of his cell when he was imprisoned in the Modelo prison in Barcelona in 1945-6 and 1948-5).  I have only found two images of this once much-loved work of art, the most remarkable of which is this uniquely fresh and vivid painting of Madonna and Child.

Helios was a revolutionary who fought against Franco both as a soldier and as an artist.  Most of the pictures by which posterity will know him were published as anti-fascist propaganda, but his true legacy is lovingly remembered by the Associaci√≥ Cultural Helios G√≥mez.

I only heard of Helios through an interview with Damian Le Bas by Clare-Marie Grigg, editor of Impirica.  Damian himself is editor of Travellers' Times as well as being a poet. I hope he won't mind my saying that you couldn't find a better introduction to him than Clare-Marie's interview and his own poem and video, Belong.