“If time does not exist in a painting, it becomes eternal”, I thought to myself.
As soon as I realized the extent of the chronic lack of time in the modern world and learned about time management techniques, I became aware of the devastating influence of stress on our lives and bodies. More than 20 years ago, I got rid of my watch and decided to consciously reduce my exposure to time. I did understand the importance of being ‘on time’ to a flight or a meeting, nevertheless, I thought we overweight time’s role in our society, and I was searching for an alternative time perception or perhaps, for a timeless inspiration. Then, I arrived to the countryside of the Dominican Republic, a quite isolated universe that runs, or more precisely rests, on an entirely different time concept. Dominicans who live in rural areas are known for avoiding a decisive respond to the question “When?”. Traditionally they will reply with “Ahorita”, a fluid word which, conveniently enough, can extend anywhere between 1 minute to a few hours, or later.
Walking through tiny remote villages on the green hills of Samana, meeting and talking with those relaxed smiling peasants, made me curious about their happy, easy-going nature. Drifting on the Yuna river, on a small fishermen boat, watching the rustic houses and the cheerful smallholder farmers, and waving at the bathing children on a quiet afternoon, made me think about how untouched those lovely Dominicans are. They wake up with the Sun, and go to sleep soon after it’s gone. They are heavily influenced by weather patterns and some of them work hard to make a living, but time is not a central issue, and stress is simply not a part of their lives.
I enjoyed thinking that time does not exist in those places and I loved the idea. Hypnotized by this timeless culture environment, I kept trying to express my infatuation with that concept in my paintings.