Pintor Campesino (Peasant Painter)
One in a series of three
by John Dickinson
color, 17 min, 1984
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Cleto Rojas, a peasant painter in Venezuela, discusses his artwork. From movies and Roman mythology to his own dreams and scenes of rural life, Rojas takes inspiration from all sources and transforms the world around him into fantastic visions. He teaches village children his technique of using house-paint on canvas, as his wife goes about her own housework, singing slowly.
The painter is bemused by the attention of anthropologists and art critics, and he talks about the pitfalls of attention. He remembers traveling to Caracas as a young man to meet famous painters and being disappointed in them. His ambitions are more focused on the content of his work - Rojas wishes he could envision and paint one of Venezuela's heroes, Simon Boilvar, as he really was, as no accurate representations exist now. Without looking for fame, he continues painting all kinds of images as he sees them.