Friends Without Borders / Rebeca Monzo

“A Modigliani, by Rebeca”

In my last visit to Santo Domingo, Domincan Republic, I was received, as is usual, by an incredible woman ceramics artist, restorer of porcelain (something rarely practiced today), in her marvelous museum home of Moorish architecture, in the heart of the colonial city.

To be there was like stepping into the pages of a story in A Thousand and one Nights. This time, the attic room where I usually stayed was occupied by an American girl, tall, blond, slim, very nice, who also spoke fluent Spanish. Immediately we felt a lot of empathy between us and we quickly became inseparable. I gave her the nickname Chicuela, little girl, which she accepted gladly. She had been to seek her fortune, I to another patchwork exposition, this time an homage to the Great Masters of the impressionists. I had brought the finished works unmounted, which was my custom in the French galleries, in Gazcue, where I already had experience in framing this kind of technique. The two previous exhibitions held in this workshop work were impeccable.

The Colonial City is surrounded by gorgeous houses with the architecture of the period of conquest, many of them converted into painters’ studios and art galleries. Others belonged to wealthy families who had restored them keeping all the splendor and ostentation.

Bougainvillea of various colors hung from all the balconies. It seemed as if they were copying each other. This ancient city, the premium, as they called it, counts a great number of churches, many also very old. In the wide plaza, facing City Hall, stands the proud cathedral.

Many were the rides, the walks, the laughs, but the evening of the announced day came and most of the invitations had not yet been delivered. Chicuela and I went out on foot to distribute them. It was exhausting. The day of the exposition, my American friend side by side with me, we took on the jobs of cleaning the premises of the exhibition, decorating it, hanging the pictures, ending up exhausted but happy. The big surprise was the heavy rain that broke just an hour before the opening, the flooding, making this beautiful garden we had decorated unusable, leaving limited space for the public on the roof terrace and corridors of the museum where tables were set. Despite all the challenges, which were many, they served to show Chicuela and me that two people from countries whose governments have turned themselves into enemies, have more in common than people think, and that for sensitive and honest human beings, there are no borders.