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Yo Inmigrante Madrid y Barcelona

I Immigrant Of Rayma Suprani … Save yourselves, ancient lands, your legendary pomp !, she exclaims./ Give me your surrendered, your wretched, / your crowded crowds that yearn to breathe in freedom./ Send me these, the helpless, those who by the tempest they are whipped. / I raise my torch near the golden port! ». This fragment of The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus, a New York poet of Sephardic origin, is inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in New York, under whose shadow millions of
immigrants who sought new horizons to rebuild their lives found shelter. That same shadow also sheltered immigrants from all over the world who found refuge and prosperity in Venezuela, whose generous people opened their arms to integrate them into its soil. Paradoxes of fate, these Venezuelans are now forced once again to leave their homes, their jobs, their roots, their family and friends, in short, their lives.


The work of the Venezuelan cartoonist Rayma Suprani highlights the universality of immigration and connects us with the most emotional aspects of it. Rayma, exiled in Miami, knows very well what it is like to face the lack of freedom, because in 2014 she was fired from the Caracas newspaper El Universal after publishing a cartoon in which she used the signature of former president Hugo Chávez to satirize his legacy. and the poor state of the Venezuelan health system. That is why his work can be understood as a form of political activism in favor of freedom. A struggle that takes us back in time to the 19th century and to the official motto of the French Revolution: “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” Rayma would thus be the symbol of resistance against authoritarian regimes and the censorship imposed on the media. An image that refers us to Delacroix’s famous painting Liberty Leading the People from 1830, a canvas that represents the citizen protests that took place in Paris against a series of ordinances that restricted civil liberties. The composition presents a pyramidal structure in which the dead for freedom are in the lower part of the painting, the figure of the woman, who represents Liberty, appears represented in the upper part and holds a rifle in one hand and in the other hand a tricolor flag.


The art historian Argan highlights this pictorial work as the first political composition of modern painting. The painter Delacroix wrote in a letter about his painting “I have started a modern theme, a barricade … and, if I have not fought for the country, at least I will paint for it.” The romantic artist himself was also included in the painting, thus evidencing his commitment, as in the first person used by Rayma for this exhibition. I think it would not be entirely accurate to speak of this new body of work that the cartoonist has carried out without placing ourselves in the context of contrast. A contrast, however, that goes beyond classical causality and in which cause and effect are part of the same feedback loop. In other words, the Hegelian conception of a contradiction that is resolved in a third term has become obsolete in a complex system such as that presented by Rayma, in which the parts are the whole and the whole the parts. Graphic humor and caricature constitute a means of escape and a mode of expression that reveals the social tensions of the present moment, but which undoubtedly refer to a social and historical background, which goes from the particular to the general and which is nurtured of a historical substratum common to all. This new series of drawings by Yo Inmigrante presents recognizable icons of Spanish culture such as the bull, the bullfighter, the Meninas, the
three caravels used by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the flamenco dress, the espadrilles, the Quijote, the siesta, the Holy Family, the monarchy, etc. But let’s not forget that these parts are the whole and the whole the parts, as I pointed out above. Rayma appeals
above all things to our emotions and our consciences with a scathing and universally understandable sense of humor.


The artist is aware that she “comes from a country at war” and that in this case Venezuelans are forced to choose between life and death. Between staying or leaving, with all that this entails. Rayma emphasizes that we cannot forget Ulysses syndrome, the syndrome of the migrant with chronic stress. The people who come to our borders live and suffer dramatic situations, of separation, uprooting, loneliness and fear, but they are not heroes, they are ordinary people who are committed to heroic acts to survive. Despite the critical and denouncing spirit, his proposal has a positive underlying message as can be seen in the drawing Diaspora! Let’s be the best of Venezuela, in which a bean with the Venezuelan flag begins to germinate. In Rayma’s words “When this horror ends there will be many people who will have a lot to contribute and decide for more positive values,” he concluded.


Eva Mendoza Chandas 2019