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Toribio Ortega

Cuchillo Parado, Chihuahua
Primitive Acrylics

Toribio Ortega lives in the small Mexican village of Cuchillo Parado, Chihuahua. He has spent his life as a farmer and a soldier.

Ortega paints simple images of the world that surrounds him. He asserts that each of his evocative paintings is a self-portrait. That perspective, like much of life in Northern Mexico, stems from a deep bond of person, family, church, ancestry and nature. Toribio says that he is everything around him, and everything around him is Toribio.

Years ago, when the first rumblings of revolution reached Cuchillo Parado, a young Toribio assembled a group of his fellow campesinos, took his old bolt-action rifle, mounted his pony and rode for Coyame to raise more volunteers, then on to Ojinaga, where the Mexican army was garrisoned. His dedicated defense of his people and their lands, his commitment to justice and fairness, his easy charisma and his natural leadership gained him the status of a general in Pancho Villa’s army. When the revolutions ended, Toribio returned home to raise his family and his crops.

Now in his later years, Ortega paints in his garage, near a small bench scattered with tubes of colorful paints. He is unconcerned with commercial affairs, paints only to express himself and seldom ventures across the river to the United States. He says it is too dangerous there.

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