Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sketches of Cuenca #3 - Amelia and the Artebamba Gallery

I ask Amelia what first brought her to Cuenca. She answered, "Love" OK, What keeps you in Cuenca?, With the smile that never seems to leave her face she again said, "Love". Some guy? I suggested, "I fell in love with Cuenca" she answered and explained why. "From the start I sensed a tranquil easy vibe here" she continued, "the only hard part of living here is missing people in Santa Barbara". That's where she is
"from" when anyone asks. But, she explains, "I've been all over".

Amelia has been in Cuenca since late 2013 and from the beginning the gallery at the corner of Hermano Miguel and Juan Jaramillo had been her base.

She isn't new to running a gallery but as with most things it's a little different in Cuenca. For example, between greeting visitors and organizing the shifting collection of art, she paints. Not unknown in the states but not common either, the combination studio gallery is more the rule in Cuenca. In the states its different . Working in a gallery in Santa Barbara she wouldn't be painting, she wouldn't be wearing an artist's smock and she couldn't let her hair down as she can in the city of four rivers. Its more laid back in Cuenca. The pretentiousness and high prices are missing. Amelia thinks buyers here are more driven by feelings when they select art. Less by cold calculation. Maybe that's the lower prices. Maybe its the mood of the city...maybe both. With so many expats decorating newly acquired houses and apartments the gallery is a success.  Her artists are from everywhere. North Americans, Latin Americans from other parts of the continent, Cuencanos and other Ecuadorianos. From them Amelia selects mostly paintings but also sculptures and decorative items.  She has an experienced eye but is often surprised and delighted too by what people sometimes find irresistible. Its "Love" she says. "They see an artwork and fall in love" Who can fathom love? To find out if Cupid has an arrow (and art) with your name on it, visit Artebamba when you're in town.

-Glen Birbeck