Passionaria closed


Dimensions119 cm x 137 cm x 30 cm
Materials Sandblasted glass, cast glass, bronze, wood, marble, and real objects

Pasionaria, born in 1895, was the political leader of the Spanish people opposed to Franco during the civil war of the 1930’s. She began her activities as a union activist in the needle trades beginning in 1916. Married to a miner and active socialist Julian Ruiz she had six children only two of which survived infancy. Ruben, who was killed fighting in WWII, and Amaya. After the civil war she was exiled in Moscow where she remained general secretary and later president of the Spanish Communist Party. As a European communist she saw it as a political and economic system and not the totalitarian state of Stalinism. She remained an ardent Catholic throughout her life. After the death of Franco, she returned to Spain and was elected to parliament in 1977. She continued in that post and died of pneumonia at the age of 93 in 1989.

While I was making this piece a friend of my wife Karen, who lived in Madrid was able to obtain the telephone number if Amaya Ruiz Ibarruri. My then studio assistant, Carlos Ulloa, who was of Cuban origin, called her for me to explain what I was doing. She sent several of the items found in the niches of the sculpture. The insides of the bronze doors are portraits of Pasionaria at six different periods of her life. The outside of the doors depicts elements of Picasso’s “Guernica” superimposed on the map of Spain.