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Jorge Castro Flórez

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BIOGRAPHY

belarmino castro y azucena flores 11 sept 1934   He was born of Asturien parents in Barcelona, in 1938. In 1939, the family is in exile in France where his mother Azucena Flórez, the children (Jorge and older sister Faly) and his father are sent to separate concentration camps. In 1941, they reunite in Gijón (Spain) and the family welcomes sister Marta. When he is twelve, his father, Belarmino Castro, who plays for the Real Oviedo, puts an end to his football career at the Sporting Gijón and the family immigrates to Uruguay.

   He began working to help support the family while also studying and building on his knowledge and love of music that had been awakened in the nine year old Jorge with violin. The contact with older people in Montevideo introduced him to various artistic milieux. He became familiar with the theatre, arts and music, including learning to play clarinet and guitar. He was a founder of the Uruguayan Jazz Club.

   When faced with the uncertainties of employment at the beginning of the sixties, Jorge rediscovered his ownjorge - rafaela - marta 20 sept 1950 artistic yearnings and utilised his skills in developing techniques of metal engraving, chiseling and hand-carving.

   He experimented using these techniques and developing new patinas to finish his works. At the same time, he drew obsessively. Unconsciously, he had found the ''hands of his grandfather'' Alfredo Flórez, a well-known metal worker, whom he never knew.

   His endeavours and ingenuity in these disciplines enabled him to take them out of the ''handicrafts'' genre and to develop his own language in his mural works. Around the same period, he married Micheline Bermudez. She will become his closest partner both in life and in making his art known. 

micheline bermudez y jorge castro. boda   In 1967, when freedom in Uruguay became limited, resulting eventually in a military coup, Jorge once again emigrated. He went to Canada in search of a life where he could be free to create. While establishing himself, he continued to prepare his works and introduced them to the Canadian market. With the success of these endeavours, he was able to devote all of his efforts to his artistic creations.

  Jorge awakened the interest of Canadian institutions such as the Canadian Crafts Council, and these institutions awarded him fellowships and prizes in recognition of his work. Jorge was a member of the Quebec Sculptors’ Association, where he was very active in the preparation of important      cultural events. From the beginning of the seventies, Jorge devoted his creative energy entirely to sculpture. The use of bronze captivated him completely. Through this medium he was able to express all his concerns for the injustices people suffered both in Uruguay and elsewhere, under military regimes. His works became a denunciation which accompanied his acts of solidarity and his efforts to rescue relatives and friends. The Canadian government assisted him with his endeavour. The human condition has remained his main subject.jorge castro en su taller-estudio

   Jorge’s father often dreamt of returning to Spain, the land of his birth. When he died in Montreal in 1984, his dream was lost.

 This shock led Jorge to reconsider his life. He realized that in Canada he would never attain the full depth of expression he was striving for in his work. Consequently, he decided to return to Spain, to revisit his roots and immerse himself in the culture of his homeland.

   In 1985, the Spanish Embassy in Ottawa organized a solo exhibition of Jorge’s work as the main event of the Spanish Cultural Festival, adopting as its emblem his sculpture ''Canto solidario''  (The solidarity chant). This accolade was the culmination of his sojourn in Canadá.

   Since 1986 Jorge worked in Spain. The positive, energetic charge he received in modern Spain has led him into a more joyous phase of creativity. The social content and the emotional charge remained the keynote of Jorge’s work, but love and passion now stand alongside works reflecting pain and suffering. The influences exerted on him by his experiences, as a youth, in South America were still vital. As he said, ''I incorporate the acquired richness of my whole life, from the pain to the passion, which I am anxious to share in a manifestation of my art''.

jorge casstro con su madre azucena florez   The artist, far from belonging to any artistic circle, began an intensive solo crusade and in his studio he gave shape, in the decades of the 80s and the 90s to the most important works that form the Colección Bronce Castro and the monumental work.

   In 2003 his wife died. This unexpected death brought the artist into a relentless loneliness. It pushed him to write stories and poems and accentuated his infatuation for his art.

   Over the years his work has transcended borders through numerous solo and group exhibitions in cultural centers, universities, galleries and art fairs.

   CASTRO JORGE FLÓREZ died surrounded by family and friends, on July 5, 2011. His work, as a permanent exhibition, may be visited in Agost (Alicante - Spain).

 

Photographs: 

1.- Azucena Flórez and Belarmino Castro (1930)
2.- 
Jorge with his sisters Rafaela and Marta (1950)
3.- The Artist with his wife Micheline Bermudez on their wedding day
4.- The Artist in Canada with his mother Azucena Flórez
5.- Working in his studio
6.- Tree planted in the house of the Artist

 

 

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