Girigori: The Magical Painter of the Magic Arc
By Frank Marino Hernández
Since the beginning of time, the Antillean tropics have been a source of amazement, of bewilderment, of passion and delight.
These islands are the facets of a magnet that for centuries have attracted Arawak inhabitants and the myriads that have arrived from the Old World.
Christopher Columbus in the journal of his maiden voyage writes reflectively that, for all of the beauty, abundance, and the luxuriant splendor of the landscape in these first-discovered lands, paradise must have existed here.
Dating from the European colonization, this archipelago was converted into a crucible of cultures and ethnicities that surrender themselves before the sunshine, the nature, the fascinating color, the
rum, the seductive skin tones, and to the brief, tranquilizing, transitory death of an obliterating and restorative nap.
In this magic arc, verdant and fiery, embraced by the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea, there exists a permanent defiance for whomever, by means of an artist’s role, recreates and translates the most
intimate and significant nuances of the landscape, of the people, and of the secret emanations of the spirit.
Jean Girigori is one of the magic interpreters of this changing and tempting scene that artists like herself capture, concretize and perpetuate with extraordinary richness. Each one of the paintings of
Girigori appears to be a scene torn from this Antillean reality made up of happiness, negritude, poverty, misery, and of the domination and the chimeras represented by white people, the representative inheritors of all the empires of every age.
And all of our primitive environment, adorned by modernity, and technology, is clad in the color of a rich palette managed with the authoritative hand of some one solely an artist, who only paints, and
who forms his language or – as in the case of Jean – her Creole or Papiamento, out of the untranslatable language of art
A measure of the authenticity of the paintings of Girigori is that although all her themes can be discerned with clarity, they appear with the freshness and spontaneity of creativity, imagination, and originality in the treatment given to the images, be they simple or the most complicated, whether the most abstract or figurative.
That originality in the control of magic and thaumaturgy provides for the attainment of a capacity
for synthesis that reveals whatever crumb of the color of reality as though it were the total reality or
the totality of the color of the Antilles.
Jean’s works can be individualized and even classified by theme, period, or style. But that does not imply that they can be fragmented, owing to their coherence and the consistency of their realization,
ever-changing, always the same, and at any moment revealing expressions of their yesterday, their
today and their predictable future.
To have access to a painting of Jean Girigori is to have the whole Caribbean in hand, each island, and all and every community together with the persons that inhabit the magic arc stretching from Martinique which changed forever the life and style of Gauguin and which still transforms everything so that the fish and mermaids swim in the blue of the sky and the angels descend to mix with us naked on our salty coasts of sunshine and brown sugar.
Santo Domingo, D.R.
July 9, 1993