Tristeza tropical / Tropical sadness
Oil on canvas, 100 H x 70 W cm / 39.4 H x 27.6 W in
Created by Ofir Hirsh under the Izquierdo identity in 2012

It’s hard to believe, and feels strange for me to say, that my girlfriend and I will soon celebrate 25 years of living happily together. Obviously, we had our ups and downs, but in the first 15 years we were so happy and concentrated in each other, that we didn’t even want to have kids. We lived in  a tropical paradise called Las-Terrenas, in the Samana Peninsula of the Dominican Republic, and everything seemed quite perfect, when we decided it’s time to become parents. We thought that if we’ll just keep making love, but without the contraceptives, cute babies will soon be born.
After a few years of trying the natural way, we realized that something isn’t working.
We decided to fly to Israel, our homeland and a global leader in fertility treatments, to consult with the experts. Due to our “old” age, the experts gave us tons of disclaimers and lowered our expectations. Thus, we were quite overwhelmed to discover,  following an IVF procedure, that we are pregnant. I cannot even start to describe the euphoria we felt.
We flew back to the D.R. to celebrate our pregnancy in paradise. My girlfriend felt good, and an amazing cute belly showed up. I photographed her everywhere and painted her, and we were both so thrilled. Then, when the pregnancy examinations were due, we decided that my girlfriend will fly to Israel for a few weeks to do them all together. It began very well and everything looked great. I stayed in Las-Terrenas and my girlfriend kept me posted, and sent me ultrasound images of our gorgeous baby girl via e-mail. We were expecting a few more results, when one morning at 4 a.m. the phone rang  in our house in Las-Terrenas. My girlfriend, on the other side of the line, told me the terrible news. Something was genetically wrong with our baby. Since it was an advanced stage of pregnancy, time was a critical issue. I booked the earliest flight I found for the next morning, and started to pack. Later that morning, I went out for a walk on the beach. The same beach I walked so many times before. That same wild beauty that had always filled my heart with joy, became a pale background to my sorrow. I could only think about my girlfriend, and how our hope is vanishing in front of us. I went back home and entered the studio automatically. I painted with the colors of the nature that surrounded me, the same colors I used so many times before to express my happiness, the saddest self-portrait I ever did. When I was done, I still didn’t feel cheered up, but the painting process helped me to digest the terrible news, and prepare myself mentally towards the journey. I realized that something has to change. That there is something else very important in life, apart from living in paradise, that I may never experience, if I won’t wake up and do the right thing. I thought that the right thing was to relocate back to Israel. It was the last thing I wanted to do, but I knew it was the right thing.
My girlfriend came to pick me up from the Airport in Israel. It was the longest and saddest hug we ever gave each other in an airport. 2 days later we had an abortion, and after it we spent a few more days together in isolation, before going back home to Las-Terrenas. We needed to console in each other arms, and being together in Las-Terrenas seemed so natural. We spent 3 more months in Las-Terrenas before we left for Israel, to work on our special project.
Our project had a happy end, we have two wonderful kids.
We live in Israel nowadays. It is not hell, but it is a reality. A very modern and stressful reality. When we lived in the D.R. I felt I was living in a beautiful dream. After I experienced paradise on earth once, it’s hard for me to accept the reality. I can’t seem to get used to the concept of living in stress, obeying so many rules, and doing so many things against my intuition and conscious.
I’d like to believe that we will go back to live in Las-Terrenas, or that we will relocate to another beautiful destination surrounded by nature, one day. However, that would already be another paradise, not the one I loved and miss so much right now. I didn’t realize it back then, but I now understand that painting “Tristeza Tropical” symbolized the end of that paradise.