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Es ahora cuando este joven de 73 años puede hacer todo lo que quiso hacer cuando era niño. Se dedica, divertido, a sacarle el jugo a la vida. “La ilusión de la niñez es lo único que vale la pena conservar”, dice. Construye, pinta y moldea un mundo en el que lo humano casi trasciende a lo divino.

 

 

Textos y fotos: Máximo Rondón A.

 

Don Pablo Artal habla pausadamente, con serenidad, y su acento apenas delata sus orígenes en Santiago de Chile.  Allí estudió artes gráficas y luego, por apenas un año, artes plásticas. Lo demás fue empírico, y hoy se presenta como arquitecto, constructor, pintor y escultor. Cada actividad tiene su encanto, y hay temporadas en las que se le puede ver haciendo cosas que ni él mismo imaginaba que podía hacer. “El ocio a veces también es agradable. Meter los pies en un río, por ejemplo, y quedarse así es sabroso. Todas las cosas cuando se hacen con cariño tienen su encanto. Cuando las cosas nacen, que no hay obligación de por medio, es hermoso”, asegura.

 

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A Venezuela llegó hace cuarenta años, y en Caracas trabajó en una conocida agencia de publicidad, hasta que una avioneta en vuelo bajo se topó con la ventana de su oficina. No salió herido, pero el incidente le sirvió para darse cuenta de que las cosas realmente importantes de la vida están fuera del encierro corporativo y del entorno urbano. Partió entonces con su familia para Margarita y de allí, diez años más tarde, -veinticuatro años atrás- a la Gran Sabana. En la actualidad, vive a 2 Km. de Santa Elena de Uairén, con la vista puesta cada amanecer en tepuyes, selvas y sabanas. Su mujer e hijos, también aventureros, siempre le han seguido de buena gana en sus fantásticas empresas. Les une el amor y los valores más arraigados de la religión mormona. Para Don Pablo el éxito consiste en formar una familia cuyos integrantes se sientan felices de vivir, y en el plano de la creación, encontrar nuevas realidades, especialmente allí donde aparentemente no existía más que la nada.

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Admira con fervor a Soto, Leonardo, Durero, Miguel Ángel, Boticceli, Rubens y a tantos otros artistas que le impresionaron. “Se dedicaron a magnificar el arte, a darle cierta grandeza. Demostraron que el ser humano es capaz de todo si se dedica a ello con pasión”, dice Artal.

 

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El constructor

Su padre era constructor, y de muchacho Don Pablo no quería saber nada del oficio. Sin embargo es el responsable, hasta ahora, de casi cuarenta construcciones sembradas por toda Santa Elena de Uairén, muchas de ellas consagradas al turismo. Las sueña, las diseña y las construye, inspirado siempre en la arquitectura pemón, emblemática de la zona, muy artesanal, armónica con el entorno, y de agradables formas redondas que huyen de la simetría urbana.

El sello Artal es especialmente evidente, por ejemplo, en el centro de visitantes del campamento Parupa, perteneciente a la Corporación Venezolana de Guayana, ubicado en la vía hacia Kavanayen; en Villa Fairmont o en el Campamento Ecológico Ya-koo, ambos en Santa Elena. El campamento Ruta Salvaje -antes llamado Villa Salvaje-, es atendido por la propia familia Artal, y funciona como posada desde hace tres años. Merece mención aparte por ser un proyecto personal del artista, quien fue construyéndolo durante siete años. La obra nunca ha contado con planos, pues Artal la ha ido creando sobre la marcha, haciendo apenas algunos dibujos parciales.

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El tiempo le ha sobrado, pero no los recursos, por lo que ha aprovechado materiales casi de desecho, cemento y madera del lugar, para crear un sitio muy fresco en el que conviven cuatro cabañas palafíticas con vista a preciosos paisajes de la Gran Sabana,  y un área que sirve de comedor, decorada con piedras minerales, objetos utilitarios autóctonos y algunos cuadros alegóricos al mundo indígena pintados por Don Pablo. Se evidencian en cada espacio el cariño y la sensibilidad del artista, quien se ha valido de hierro forjado, retazos de materiales antes abandonados y motivos vegetales pintados en los techos y en algunas paredes.

 

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La intimidad de Pablo Artal

La pintura es para  Don Pablo su espacio más íntimo. No pinta para hacer dinero, “aunque cuando el arte es bueno se vende bien. Últimamente he sentido el éxito en el arte. Yo mismo me sorprendo. Hay personas que casi coleccionan lo que hago”. La suerte le sonrió en su más reciente exposición en Caracas, y también en el Orinokia Mall de Puerto Ordaz. Además el Banco Guayana le ha comprado varias de sus obras. “Están apostando a que en el futuro tendrán cierto valor”, explica Artal.

Su primer encuentro con el público fue en Chile, a la edad de 17. Desde entonces ya ha peregrinado por el mundo mostrando su obra. Actualmente se prepara para hacer una exposición importante en el exterior, no sin antes atender compromisos dentro de Venezuela.

Su pintura es completamente figurativa. Se inspira en el género humano, lo que, según el artista, es lo más importante. Es fácil encontrar en sus cuadros a sabios, niños o indígenas, e incluso a alguna celebridad, como es el caso de Einstein. A Don Pablo le gusta retratar la fisonomía de estos personajes mientras lee sus biografías. Y si de inspiración se trata no deja de mencionar a su musa y compañera, la colombiana Maria Victoria Kilby, con quien está casado desde hace casi cincuenta años. “Me da buena comida, me cuida, me trata bien”, dice Artal emocionado.

Para estar a tono con los tiempos se desenvuelve en la escuela del cinetismo, lo cual es todo un reto para alguien que no trabaja con modernas herramientas. Ha tenido que inventarlas para lograr sobre tela efectos que otros obtienen con medios muy sofisticados y caros. Ha visitado el taller de Carlos Cruz Diez, “quien para lograr sus obras necesita la ayuda de casi treinta personas. En cambio yo uso materiales que todo el mundo usa -por ejemplo el acrílico- y utilizo pinceles inventados por mí, con los que logro la perfección de las líneas”.  Entre sus aportes técnicos se encuentran el haber simplificado el proceso de realización de las obras, y el crear herramientas nuevas de una enorme sencillez que modernizan y agilizan la manera de hacer trazos.

 

Don Pablo ama la vida, a la que considera un regalo. ¿Por qué estamos aquí? Ya él cree tener la respuesta, pero no se aventura a hablar de ello. “Es larga, y no es tan sencilla”.  Pero sí habla de lo que hace feliz a las personas. “La gente que se respeta a sí misma es aquella que hace lo que siempre soñó hacer. Esa es la gente que vive feliz en el mundo”. Da gusto verle pasear camino a su taller, entre flores y con el paisaje de la Gran Sabana de fondo, con su gran sombrilla que le protege del sol. Su porte, su barba y pelo cano le hacen ver como un gentil hombre. Pero se trata en realidad de un niño que juega, sueña y disfruta de su tránsito por la vida.

 

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Consígalo acá

 

A Don Pablo Artal se le puede ubicar en el campamento Ruta Salvaje, en Santa Elena de Uairén, Sector Piedra Canaima, Vía Sampay, al lado del Campamento Turístico Yakoo. Teléfonos: 0289 – 9951134, 0414- 0951008  0414-8894164.

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