Expat Life

Giving back to Cuenca’s creative spirit

By Robert Bradley

I was stopped on the street the other day by a chap who did a double-take as he passed. He turned right around, called me by name, then asked if it was true.

“Are you Robert Bradley?”

“Why, yes, I am,” I replied, with a combination of surprise and dread.

“Do you write for CuencaHighLIfe?”

“Yep. That’s me”.

“Yeah, I saw your article this morning.”

“Well, what did you think of the column?” I asked, braced for a splash of satisfaction.

“I dunno. I didn’t read it. Saw your picture though.”

And there you have it. Distilled. No additives. Poetry.

I do what I do out of necessity.

As soon as the words start flowing, I am set adrift in time that purrs so quietly and with so little notice that when I do shake my head, I am draped in late night silence, or startled by a band of turquoise backlighting the mountains and climbing the sky.

I love this moment. I love seeing the right words aligned on paper one after the other, reading them again and again before hearing, after many repetitions, the melody. There is a ripple when it should be calm, or I failed to listen to the stones chattering. So, I cast off again and drift in a sovereign floating of joy.

One of the best parts is that when I return to wakeful life, I am refreshed as if from vacation and hum with a peacefulness I find nowhere else.

In the months I have lived in Cuenca, I have come to a richer understanding of my craft and art. I more deeply comprehend the meanings that photography is a fertile bed where words are tended and raised, that light is fleeting and the best moment is always right before your eyes. But, by far, the most important realization is that art should never be taken lightly, it is neither a plaything nor decorative accessory. It is a necessity.

Art is the cup into which life can be poured and lifted to the lips and tasted.

I am thankful that the graceful sheen of Cuenca that illuminates my way affords me such profound knowledge, and I invite you to join me in my effort to, in some small measure, return the favor.

For the last several months I have been curating an exhibit and art show for the Municipal Museum of Modern Art, San Sebastian plaza.

Here are the details.

VINCULO: Reunion de Arte y Artesanias
Welding the camaraderie of artisans, artists and the next generation of creatives in Cuenca
Municipal Museum of Art Modern, San Sebastian Plaza
November 1 – November 10

In consort with the University of Cuenca, VINCULO establishes a multi-year program that will codify a video-based/oral history archive of artisans in Cuenca. It will be updated throughout the year.

Vinculo also initiates a continuing material support program to benefit the students of Talleres de MMAM.

Alberto Soriano, Eduardo Segovia, David Williams, Jamie Lara, and Klever Moscoso will be showing their recent paintings, drawings, and ceramic art.

As a special treat, three of Mr. Soriano’s students who he has guided to exhibition level will be showing their work along with their maestro. They are Evelyn Johnson, Lorena Duca, and Sandra Doren.

Eduardo Carrasco, Robert Bradley, Diego Toral, Evelyn Johnson, Burt Johnson, and Mauricio Torres will be showing their recent photography.

Twenty percent of all sales will go to assist in developing workshops, providing art supplies, and mentoring young artists and artisans attending Talleres de MMAM.

Throughout the 10-day exhibit, there will numerous workshops and demonstrations.

Please contact me for more information about the exhibition: robtjbradley@gmail.com

Robert Bradley

Robert Bradley

Robert Bradley is a former restaurateur and Manager of multiple Meals on Wheels sites in Portland, OR. He has long experience in public service and community relations. He moved to Cuenca in February ’17.

  • Laura Syperda

    Beautifully written, Robert…I love your style, your photos, your graceful commentaries. Please do visit Vilcabamba.

    • RJB

      I plan on doing just that as soon as the art show is over and the dust settles. Nov. 16th – 20th.
      Woohoo!!

  • Jean McCord

    Great photos, prose, and plans. Thanks.

    • RJB

      Thank you, Jean.

  • lucila

    Its so great to find someone who is thankful and adventurous, bold and has ‘eyes to see’ the good there in Cuenca! Im just sorry I wont be there to see the art show, but it will be wonderful surely! Thanks for the Love!

    • RJB

      Anytime.