Almost three dozen Cuencanos crowded into the front courtyard of Zoe's Cafe Tuesday night for the first annual World Without Violence Art Auction. Ten of the attendees walked away with artwork by some of Cuenca's best-known artists.
The event was sponsored by the Cuenca chapter of the International Humanist Movement in support of the purchase of a peace park on the shores of Lago San Pablo, north of Quito. According to movement leader, Graciela Quinde, proceeds from the auction exceeded expectations. "We are overjoyed with the response we received. This is the most successful fundraising event our chapter has ever had. I want to thank the artists who donated their work to our cause and the wonderful people who supported the auction."
Artists who contributed to the auction were Gonzalo Arce, Catalina Carrasco, Lanner Diaz, Julio Montesinos, Kleber Moscoso, Miguel Illescas, Gustavo Lopez, Ariel Dawi, Mayra, Adriana Nieto, Fausto Bravo, Cristina Carrasco, Jon Wright, Julio Machado and Particio Santacruz.
The evening's auctioneer was Gustavo Lopez, owner of Cuatro Rios Gallery on Calle Cordero. According to Lopez, who enlivened the event with his expert commentary and generous offerings of hyperbole and balderdash, "This is a great cause and the artists of Cuenca are happy to support it. I am already looking forward to next year's auction."
Cuenca resident David Morrill provided comments in English for the lingually challenged gringos in the audience.
Those purchasing art at the auction were Bill Bushnell, Marta Carpio, Fausto Lopez, Lesley Aldridge, Lourdes Abad, Penny Ripple, David Morrill, Jenny Bluefields, Geovany Sempertegui and Ximena Moscoso.
The evening began with a brief video presentation about the Humanist Movement and the new Ecuador park. According to Quinde, the Lago San Pablo park will provide a place for reflection, study and relaxation. “It will be a space for people of all beliefs and religions to come together to discuss issues and participate in programs that focus on solving problems without violence.”
Lago San Pablo will be the 10th park established by the International Humanist Movement. Others are in the U.S., Spain, Italy, India, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The first park opened almost 40 years at Punta de Vacas near Mendoza, Argentina. Its founder Mario Rodriguez Cobo, or Silo, as he more commonly known, is recognized as the founder of the New Humanist movement. According to Silo, the parks are places where “the worldly is not opposed to the eternal.”
Silo and the Humanist Movement are sponsors of the World Peace March that begins in Oct. 2009 in New Zealand.
Photo captions: Still life by Julio Montesinos; metal sculpture by Miguel Illescas