Ester Ventura was no more than four years old when she walked barefoot in Entre Ríos rustling dry leaves. She had run away from home. Lying in the field, she contemplated the blanket of stars that embraced her from above. She felt accompanied, she felt alive, she felt unique and at the same time a small part of something bigger.
Víctor was the name of the father who loved the sea and not making anyone a stranger. He had a clothing store on Suipacha street, in the city of Buenos Aires. When the imported fabrics arrived, Ester herself would see how her father slowly opened the rolls, felt them, and smelled them. Monarca Cretonne, Casimir Burberry from Peruvian alpaca were the names of those sensory experiences.
At school, they made her leave the classroom during the Catholic religion courses, since it was not her job to attend them. From the patio, trying to pry around, she felt that she was missing out on an act of spirituality that she wanted to be a part of.
His grandmother cooked like the gods, but she never sat at the table. Her mission was to serve. She just joined the rest for dessert or after dinner. The lesson was implicit: you learn with your hands. Keep your hands busy but your head free. Something that Ester would understand many years later.
Next to the store in Suipacha, there was also a movie theater. A practical way to take care of the children was to deposit them in the cinema. Esther must have seen it 40 times Seven brides for seven brothers. For her, going to the movies was inhabiting a dream.
She became a filmmaker, but the cinema exhausted her.
Galeano’s reading had opened his interest in the region. Simultaneously, he began to hear comments about Peru. About its light, colors and atmosphere, he would travel.
A friend was leaving on a trip to Colombia, so they decided to embark on the adventure together. The father, tricky and jealous, did not see it favorably, but they were already on their way to Bolivia hitchhiking.
arrived in Peru. To the silver mantle of Titicaca and its immense mamachas with majestic shawls. Corns and peppers of all colors and scents. Arrives in Cusco at night, Colcampata, skirts of Sacchasuaman. He gets up early to open the window and learn the legend. All in white, he had snowed. She heard a word: discover me.
What she discovered related her in an inexplicable way with the ancestor and with the Andean. She knew that she would no longer be passing through this country.
Another of the coincidences, which do not exist, she embarked with Rodolfo Hinostroza in a documentary on magical and religious rites of the Andes. She met the Ausangate, altomisayoc Melchor Deza, an influence that carved her spiritual life with an invisible chisel that sweetly modeled her Argentine identity.
He falls in love, gets married and goes to live in Cusco. He started buying textiles, and along with them came chafalonía, the remains of colonial jewelry sold by weight. They were pieces that asked to be heard in order to have a new life, and she heard them. She looked for goldsmiths who would make this possible, what Entre Ríos, Suipacha, the cinema, her father and grandmother, Ausangate and that Chaska that we should all look for, dictated to her. She began wearing her own jewelry, drawing glances and interest.
The expectation reached the capital. They offered him the Equus gallery for an exhibition. They are crazy? I only do puzzles, she said. No, you’re making art, they corrected him.
One day before the opening, the show opened for collectors and special guests. Almost everything was sold. She couldn’t believe or understand.
One of the buyers had been Doris Gibson Parra, mythical founder of Caretas magazine. She had left him a note from her in which she told him that she wanted to meet her and invite her to lunch and, even more, that Ester Ventura had to photocopy it because what she was making of her had not been done by anyone in popular art. Peruvian.
Impossible to photocopy the unrepeatable, what it includes, and what reconciles resorting to beauty and knowledge. Your best jewel is your life.
The Spondylus, an ominous soul
Write: JOSEFINA BARRON
Ventura has rediscovered the mullu, making it a jewel and an iconic trophy of the Lima Film Festival.
Spondylus, sun valve. Peru calls it mullu. Its shell has the glow of the afternoon when the summer is insolent. It varies from red to coral, and is sometimes tinged with purple. It’s a mollusk. Seasoned fishermen made long journeys in rudimentary boats to find them. It lives in the depths close to the coasts of northern Peru and southern Ecuador. He was also, and still is to this day, a sort of ominous soul. Its behavior prevents currents that will bring copious rains. The ancient inhabitants of these shores used this shell as an offering to flatter, ask for and thank all that Mother Earth offered. Therefore, his presence was sacred. They gave shape to their fervor. Yes, since those times arcane hands have been carving, polishing, setting and modeling exquisite shapes until transforming their aggressive skin into porcelain. The mullu adorned them. Much more than an ornament, it is a talisman. It subtly emanates its protective qualities. Perhaps for all of this, Ester Ventura treasures the spondylus, shelters it and gives it infinite dwellings, welcoming them in silver beds. It is she who, at the beginning of the 80s, rediscovered them. With them she has traveled the world showing the new face of contemporary Peruvian jewelry.