Tuesday, 18 September 2007

ANTONIO ZAYA 1954-2007

Antonio Zaya (second from left) in Gran Canarias during the Biennal, with Canary Island Wrestlers, after we did the wrestling performance-demonstration last December.

My dear friend and great curator Antonio Zaya died last Friday.

I met Antonio in 2002 during the now defunct Puerto Rico Bienal organized by Michy Marchaux. We collaborated in several occassions. The last one during the Canary Islands Bienal last December, which he curated, where he invited me to do a Canary Island Wrestling performance- demonstration. We were also preparing a special issue of Pablo Magazine on the Canary Islands, including the Canary Islands wrestling, the beaches of Mas Palomas, the shopping centre of Jumbo, the island of Lanzarote, the life and architecture of Cesar Manrique, a text by his brother Octavio.

Antonio, from the Canary Islands, and later from his home in Girona, was pivotal in creating a network of artists and curators that went from the Canaries, to the Mediterranean, to the Caribean, to the Americas to Africa. He was also editor of the magazine Atlantica which he used to create this dialogues and connections. He was also a poet, an art critic, a painter and a performer. In the last years he had been working with grafitti artists from New York and was studying Santeria, the Afro-Caribbean religion derived from traditional beliefs of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. For him there were no frontiers, the Ocean was his interconnector. When someone like Antonio dies, it's not only the person who dies, but also his entire body of knowledge. Antonio was generous, intelligent and fun. We will miss him profoundly.

He is survived by his twin brother, also curator, Octavio Zaya.

1 comment:

  1. Antonio Zaya was a special friend and instrumental in the development of my artwork. With his passion and magic for words, he made me see clearly the multi-layering of my artwork and he more than once provided clever ideas and enhancements to it.
    He single handly produced one of the most handsome catalogues, ( atually it can be called a book), of my career during his affiliation with CAAM in Lanzarote. I still remember when he suprised me w/the outstanding publication and we huged and literary cried together.
    Upon my arrival to Lanzarote, he took me in a personal journey of my ancestry all the way to Teguise and Jean the Betancourt's past.
    Antonio's character and personality allowed me to be myself at his side . It was a very easy relationship, full of enchantment, intellectual stimulation, instant common sence, fun and above all laughter and magic. Antonio was one of kind and will forever be alive, he has no choice. Te quiero, Carlos Betancourt.