Wednesday, February 25, 2015

patrimonia, matriarchy, y arte

I asked Jenny why La Casa Amarilla says Ofelia. 
It was her grandmother's house, and in that era, it was traditional to name a house after the señora who lived there. 
My sunny room is chartreuse. 
For many years a language school, today the B&B is filled with bright colors and  Ecuadorean art. 
Small sweet dogs too. This one is in my lap. 
Yesterday Moni took me to the Central Bank's collection of pre-Colombian and largely pre-Incan artifacts to catch me up on 3000 years of Ecuadorean history, from the earliest work in the Americas with precious metals to sophisticated pottery and sculpture. 
These funerary vases were only recently discovered. I was struck by how little I knew of Ecuadorean history, perhaps because they were marked less by war and devastation and less by colonial exploitation than many nearby countries. 
After breakfast I headed to the top of the  hills to visit the Guayasimin museum. 
Pictures aren't permitted inside the museum, but Oswaldo Guayasamin was Ecuador's most important modern painter and sculptor. 
He lived 80 years, and worked with Rivera and Siguieros. The giant dome depicting starving men and women praying for freedom reminded me of Guernica but also of Siquiros' Cabanas del Gobierno dome in Guadalajara.  
I loved the bright uniforms of these giggly schoolchildren on a field trip. 
His portraits are extraordinary as was his collection of art and the studio where he worked and entertained heads of state. 
Afterward I treated myself to lunch at Quito's hottest new restaurant Urko, which delivers a modernist locavore take on Ecuadorean cuisine. 
The special of the day was frittada with pork marinated for two days in passionfruit and accompanied by roasted mashua (indigenous tubers similar to sweet potatoes) and crunchy toasted quinoa. 
The chocolate pot du creme was so good that I'd come back to Ecuador just for another spoonful. 
And this definitely wins most artful washroom in Quito.