Guest artist: Gloria Longval

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My father drowned before I was born. My mother was three months pregnant with me, and she jumped in to try to save him. So these early works have the memory of water in them, in the palette I used. The space I created within the frame is mysterious and very theatrical, very dramatic. That was how I experienced things as a child. The birds–which I call “visitants” because they’re from another world–that’s their space. That comes from my grandmother, who was a curandera. When she used to sacrifice the animal for whatever ritual she did, I would ask her, “Where does the chicken come from?” and she would say, “It comes from another world, and if you ever see a bird cross your path it’s an omen, something good or something bad is going to happen.” And that’s how I use them. ~ from an interview with Gloria Longval

Gloria Longval is an American artist of Cuban, Spanish and French ancestry, born in 1931 in the Cuban community of Ybor City, Tampa, Florida. Much of her work of the past three decades draws on memories of her experiences with her grandmother and great grandmother, both of whom were curanderas. Longval’s work is in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, El Museo Nacional Palacio de Bellas Artes de la Habana, Cuba, the San Diego Museum and others. Her paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States and in Mexico, Canada and England.

Paintings and text © Gloria Longval. For reprint rights, please contact


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