The Capilla del Hombrein Quito, Ecuador is an art museum and monument designed by the famous Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919-1999). The exterior of the Capilla del Hombre, or Chapel of Man, is shaped similar to a Pre-Colombian pyramid, made mostly of stone and overlooking Quito from a hill in the Bellavista suburb.
In the interior, the artist painted a series of murals depicting the evolution of the Latin American man from its Pre-Colombian beginnings to modern times. The very center of the lower level holds an eternal flame in honor of human rights. Several other carvings, murals, sculptures, and quotes fill the two level temple.
The Quito-born artist is best known for his paintings depicting Andean people, often chillingly and in dark colors. He exposed racism, poverty, political oppression, and class division; common themes throughout the Andes. His work reflected the misery and pain that many people around the world had to experience in the 20th century. He spoke out often against the US and other governments. His work was exhibited around the world. A day of national strikes occurred at his death by indigenous people, who he spent his life supporting.
Financial help for the Capilla in the form of international aid was provided by UNESCO, which supported the project from it’s conception in 1985. The artist worked on the project until his death, and it was only finished at the insistence of his ancestors. Work began in 1995 with a shamanic ritual and was completed in November, 2002. The historical significance of Guayasamín’s masterpiece has yet to be fully realized, however, critics everywhere are beginning to take notice. Many believe it is one of the most beautiful modern art projects in the world. One that will surely revolutionize Ecuador’s arts scene.
A contemporary, colonial, and archeological museum sit beside the site and are run by the Guayasamín foundation, which also runs another museum of the artist’s work several blocks away. A small café and gift shop sit on the beautiful grounds which was also where the artist lived up until his death.
Open: The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday; 10am-7pm.
More Information: Visit: www.capilladelhombre.com.
Address: Lorenzo Chávez EA18-143 y Mariano Calvache, esq. (Bellavista – El Batán), Quito, Ecuador.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.