4 - Stories from Galicia 1961 : by Michael Furstner -------------------------- Previous - Next - Contents

Caión, Galicia, NW Spain Basilio's rabbit
Joseliño's fears regarding my sister's health did fortunately not eventuate and she has lived healthy and happily up to this day. Her trip to Spain did have a profound effect on her however, at least in my view. It represented (I believe) probably the first major milestone in Wivica's development as an artist.

Before, Wivica's paintings in the main reflected the usually grey, sunless, miserable days prevailing in Holland. Gloomy pictures in dark greens, greys, browns and black of depressing ocean waves and the likes.
Returning from Spain in 1961 however, these dark colours totally disappeared instantly from her palette and were replaced by bright and happy, yellows, orange, reds and whites. Although her choice these days reflects a deeper inner light, rather than that early Spanish exhilaration, those light colours from way back then (now augmented by bright blues, purples and happy greens) have remained in her art ever since.

Early painting by Wivica, post Spain, dated 1964 On her visit to me in Galicia (NW Spain) in 1961 Wivica was in fact accompanying my then "novia" Antien (in due course to become my wife). Both young ladies were very much welcomed by the people there and revered by Joseliño as well as the eccentric "viejo" of Caión, the 80 year old Basilio.

Basilio was a wonderful sweet man, every time we visited Caión he would meet us in the Hotel bar and talk to us. He had a most interesting self made cigarette lighter which he used all the time. It consisted of a tinder box made of the cut off hollow end of a bull's horn. He would hold a piece of flint stone close over the tinder box and hit it with a small piece of metal, so that the resultant spark would ignite the tinder.

On the final day of our very last stay in Caión Basilio came to bid us farewell. The bottom of the left hose of his long trousers was tied tight around his leg with a piece of string. When he bent over and undid the string a life rabbit fell out off his pants.

Basilio, Caión 1961 Basilio grabbed it, held it upside down by its hind legs, then killed it with a quick, well aimed blow with the side of his hand against the rabbit's neck. He then handed the now dead animal over to the girls who did not quite know wether to smile (as thank you for Basilio's gift) or to cry (for the sad death of the rabbit).
In the end we gave the rabbit over to the hotel kitchen where they cooked it for our last evening meal there, which we consumed with somewhat mixed emotions. But Basilio, Joseliño and all those other friends we made in Galicia have remained in our hearts ever since.

Next Page - Top of Page

Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner