En este momento estás viendo Born again with retirement
Hugo Cortijo Collera, plastic artist. Photo taken from the author's facebook profile

Born again with retirement

It is never too late to give life new paths that allow man to grow spiritually. This is what happened with the outstanding artist Héctor Hugo Cortijo Collera, who began his creative work after his retirement.

About this turn in his life he said: «Everyone thinks that when you retire you die, but I think, because I really like what I do, that I was born again when I retired».

Born on January 20, 1924 in the town of Meneses, Sancti Spiritus province, due to the economic needs of his family he worked as a blacksmith’s assistant with his father; shoemaker and then barber in Venegas where he opened a barbershop. He married and soon after moved to Morón.

His incursion into the world of the arts began in 1980, when his artistic interests led him to make copies on wood of the faces of the martyrs of the Revolution.

In 1982 he joined the Movement of Amateur Artists and from that moment on he became closely associated with the Haydee Santamaría House of Culture of Morón. He then ventures into sculpture in wood and bone, obtaining very satisfactory results.

In his sculptural theme, he frequently approached groups of families and animal figures, made on the basis of cedar, júcaro, sabina, marabú, as well as some works carved in precious woods.

Hugo Cortijo’s training was self-taught; his art appeared spontaneously when, due to the loneliness and routine of his retirement from work, his artistic gifts, which had remained dormant for decades, burst forth.

With feverish tenacity and iron will, he achieved an immense work that amounts to more than 300 pieces characterized by an ingenuity very difficult to find in artists coming out of academies.

Hugo Cortijo participated in more than thirty personal exhibitions, six group exhibitions and exhibited at the Italia Cuba Association in Bologna, Italy.

He obtained numerous awards and recognitions such as the Diploma to the Artistic Merit on May 21, 1988, the diploma for achievements in cultural activity on February 10, 1988, the 3rd prize of culture in the National Contest of Painting and Popular Sculpture Sancti Spíritus on November 21, 1985, first prize in the Provincial Hall 1988, first prize of the UNEAC and Provincial Hall Ciego de Ávila 1991, among others.

Several of his works are in national and foreign collections.

The prolixity of his creation and the conceptual and formal complexity of them deserve a more detailed and deep study, a technical evaluation that explains the causes of his evolution and growth of this artist member of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC).

Hugo Cortijo Collera died in Morón on April 26, 1996 at the age of 72. As a tribute and in recognition of his imprint within the plastic arts in Avila, the Morón art gallery bears his name. (Written by Héctor Izquierdo Acuña)

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