The Green Lightning


El rayo verde (The green lightning) is a late work by the Canary Islands artist Antonio Padrón Rodríguez (1920−68). He was born and lived most of his life in Gáldar, Gran Canaria, and many of his works reflect a strong sense of Canary location, customs, and people. He is linked to the Luján Pérez school, named for religious sculptor José Luján Pérez (1756−1815), who inspired a tradition of artists working in various media and focused on local culture, identity, and the position of Canary people in the world. They included sculptor Plácido Fleitas and painters Jorge Oramas, Feo Monzón, and Santiago Santana. Antonio Padrón’s later work is characterized by intense use of color and abstract expressionism. The 1930s to the 1960s was a time when emigration from the islands peaked, with many people leaving for a better life in the Americas (particularly Cuba and Venezuela) after devastating drought in the Canaries. In this picture, we see a happy woman, waving farewell, her hopes of a reunion marked by the green stripe. It is a picture of simple shapes and colors, almost naïve, reflecting the spirit of enterprise that characterizes the emigrants. The seagulls are birds that leave but always return to their own shore. The blue represents the wide sea. Padrón evokes the paradox of the emigrant, looking forward but longing for the homeland, to which any return might be many years hence. This painting is in the collections of the Antonio Padrón House Museum, Indigenous Art Center, in Gran Canaria.

Last updated: June 13, 2016