1 Oct 2023 | Works
I discovered this photo when we visited my mother-in-law in Germany over the summer. She received this photo from a contact in Peru, where she has for many years supported a charity organisation that supports children in need. When I looked at this picture I was attracted to it in a way that I couldn’t explain. I was so curious about this boy’s life. What’s his name? Is this bright yellow pumpkin from a vegetable patch that he has carefully tended to for months? I had no way of knowing, but then I had an idea: maybe I just give him a story from my imagination? Because all my paintings have a story.
Here is Mateo’s story.
Mateo is 11 years old and lives in Chavín de Huantar, in the Andes mountains. He has two sisters, one 7 years old, the other 5. While kids elsewhere may play video games after school or watch Netflix on their parents’ phone, his life is different. He always tries to finish his homework at school before coming home, so that he can immediately start to help with working the fields. July is winter in the southern hemisphere, so it’s the season to harvest the pumpkin. For Mateo, it’s the favourite time of the year. He is proudly holding the golden bright pumpkin in his hands, and he can’t wait to bring it home, so that his mother can make Locro de Zapallo, a classic Peruvian pumpkin stew that also contains all sorts of other vegetables, like potatoes, peas, onion and corn. He loves the moment when the family is sitting around the dinner table, enjoying this sweet and flavourful soup. In every spoon, he can feel the love of his mother, his father’s sweat, the simple happiness of life.