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Many qualifiers could be attributed to Samuel Feijóo, including those of writer, painter, poet, narrator, researcher or cultural promoter, just to mention a few. But, what really distinguished him above those qualities, was his unparalleled Cubanism that places him as one of the most emblematic and distinctive figures of Cuban and universal culture.
It is the rootedness of the man who on March 31 would have been 105 years old, who after living in the twentieth century, his presence transcends to the present and into the future with a nobility that only great personalities can exhibit.
Samuel, popular artist of trepidating grace, rebelled from the beginning against everything sterile in the world; disobeying the bureaucratic conventions and everything routine that surrounded him, supported by his dreams of justice and the tireless thirst for beauty that always accompanied him, leaning for it in his cords "crazy".
Still many wonder how was possible the oblivion suffered for years by the creator of the magazines Islands and Signs, that Cuban who, without having an academic background, managed to make his mark in each one of the art manifestations in which he ventured.
He was the author of numerous costumbrista works, countless poems and novels as iconic as Juan Quinquín in Pueblo Mocho and Gil Jocuma, which are counted among his literary creations, which he sometimes graphed with his own illustrations.
Also, among the thick mountain of the work of sensitive Zarapico, highlights the folklore, mythology and fable of the Cuban peasants, from which dozens of stories emerged, the result of his cheerful imagination of the country and the extraordinary popular events of the Cuban countryside.
In this regard, Alejo Carpentier said that Samuel Feijóo "has revealed to us how deep, universal, ecumenical, can be, in certain cases, the wisdom of our people. The ingenious, sympathetic popular Cuban stories of humor, reflect the pleasure of surprise, exaggeration, picaresque, the sharpness of the concept, or satire that is useful, healthy, corrective, against foolishness, clumsiness, greed ... »
Reason had the poet Roberto Fernandez Retamar, when to preface his book Drawings, he was asked: Where has left this restless Samuel Feijóo, that if sometimes it is a few days in Havana, is to remind us that there is in the island grass, vines , hills, trees and intricate bushes (...) to remind us, too, the misery and hope and songs of the peasants among whom he lived, like a strange king, prophesying that time of justice that has come with the Revolution?
Less known are his plastic creations, about which he expressed that it was a kind of poetry that did not offer literature and a way to take out the gardens that grew inside. For its proven quality,
Many of his drawings, paintings and illustrations are part of the collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts of Cuba.
He also worked in journalism. During 1940 and 1950 he wrote several articles for the Bohemia magazine about national news, in which he criticized public ills and vices, and also collaborated in Posters, Origins, The World, Revolution, Granma, Hoy and Signs.
Due to the importance of his work, Feijóo received numerous awards throughout his career, among which we should highlight the National Culture in 1981 and the Alejo Carpentier, among other awards.
Taken from Granma.
English version Héctor Hernández Oropesa