40 x 50 inch canvas, Acrylic
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"The success of a country is through the education of the people." -Dr. Rafael Vegas Sanchez (Dec. 8,1908- Dec.30,1993)
Dedicating this painting in memory of my 'abuelo' (grandfather) who loved, believed in and served the people of Venezuela. It is a scene overlooking the city of Caracas with the northern mountain range, La Avila. One of my favorite stories is of him as a young man while living in France attending medical school organized a small army and rented a ship (El Falcon). They would meet up with several other groups along the coastline of Venezuela where there would be a surprise attack in order to overthrow a tyrannical government. Through various miscommunications the attempt failed and he was forced to flee into the forest. This cost him his health as he contracted an inoperable parasite that would weaken his heart and in turn shorten his life span. He was able to escape and return to medical school in France. His early profession began as a practicing psychiatrist in Caracas, Venezuela. There he saw a need for children that were abandoned and opened an orphanage were their needs could be met and they could be educated. It was through the success of this program that he would receive a phone call from the President of Venezuela asking him to serve as Minister of Education. And so, began his dream for the country's success through the education of it's people. He accepted. Frustration set in as he was not able to accomplish the programs that he envisioned because of government bureaucracy. He came to a realization that his dream could be accomplished, but it would have to be at a smaller scale. So, he opened up his own school with grades 1-12, which would become known as one of if not the best school in Caracas, Santiago De Leon.
As a young girl, I remember visiting this school and being quite impressed. It had an olympic size swimming pool, playgrounds, a zoo (the monkey's where my favorite), a two story building with classrooms, and an outdoor like cafeteria where I remember black beans, rice and plaintains being served for lunch with a trip to 'la cantina' afterward for a treat. The whole school would gather in the circle drive before school to sing the national anthem together. I would stand by my grandfather's side and I knew he was just as proud as could be to walk his only grand-daughter around the school. They also had the coolest pleaded gray skirts and white blouses as a uniform for the girls! School buses had a teacher who rode along and she was treated with much respect as you got on and off of the bus. I have many fond memories of visiting this school. I am proud of this man who out of El Amor (Love) for the people of Venezuela saw his dream come true. Not on a large scale, but through quality and consistency in a smaller circle of influence provided Venezuelan children with a place were they could be educated to later go on to professions much like he had.
My cousin Dario Carrera and his family will be the recipients of this painting where it will be displayed in their home in Caracas,Venezuela.