The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Jose Eduardo Galeano, aka Mito Galeano, was that fatidic day when we were expelled from kinder garden for peeing in the pot of milk. That was many years ago but even then, Jose Eduardo Galeano was already a genius in every way. His curiosity and daring spirit led him to take risky exploratory trips to the nearby mountains and caves and come back with rare birds and snakes to show the scared people in town who thought Mito was the incarnation of the Devil himself.
Since his early age Mito was an avid reader of almost anything that came across his hands but he was mostly interested in science and adventure books which helped shaped up his creative imagination. From an early childhood one knew that Mito had artistic talent. He came from of the best known families in Gracias, the Galeano. His uncle Alberto Galeano Trejo founded the firts botanical garden in Honduras and was a talented painter that decorated several beautiful colonial homes with murals.
In class Mito would enjoy making funny caricatures of his teachers and classmates. In the annual art contests he would always shine as the creative young artist with imaginative themes and portraits of the local colonial structures.
After he graduated from Escuela Normal in Gracias, Mito joined the National School of Arts in pursuit of his dreams to become a national artist. Soon he became the Painter of the Lenca People. Growing in Gracias he knew the way of life, the rituals, traditions, dreams, myths, feelings and ancient religion of the Lenca, the largest ethnic group in Honduras. The Lenca, ancient people forgotten in time, were victims of poverty, inequality and loss of their ancient lands and were under constant attack from established religion to abandon their ancient religion and embrace modernity. Through the magic and creative inspiration of Mito Galeano the Lenca spirit lives again forever captured on the canvas for the whole world to see. I must confess the first time I saw one of his paintings in Santa Lucia in 1993, I was in awe. For many years I had been studying the Lenca and writing several essays about them and seeing the Lenca traditions painted through Mito's magical realism was a moment of inspiration that I will never forget.
Today it is impossible to think about Gracias and the Lencas without mentioning Mito Galeano. His famous paintings are displayed throughout the world. I feel so honored to call him my friend.
Mito in Santa Lucia in 1993
The ancient religion and myths of the Lencas are magically captured by Mito
A great artist...