Oswaldo Guayasamín believed in the power of art to shed light on injustice and oppression and, ultimately, to effect social change. In the present work, he demonstrates the range of emotions—anger, anxiety, hope – embodied in a pair of clenched human hands. This is one of thirteen ink drawings in the series, El mundo de las manos. Here, Guayasamín meditates on the stress and misery conveyed in the interlocking hands. The subject clasps his hands together, perhaps in prayer or in desperation, to relieve the pressures and ignominies of society. Described in a simplified, graphic style, the face and hands bear telltale marks of labor and misery, expressively exaggerated in the epidermis lines.
Text credit: Produced in collaboration with the University of Maryland Department of Art History & Archaeology and by Ankita Sahoo