A life of art

By Miguel A. Reyes

Seychelles Islands, situated in the Indian Ocean. Even though, her most influential friendship is the one with her sister. They were always together; they even went to school together. For the professor, her sister was “the person who she talked to and shared the same interests with her”. In Puerto Rico she has been involved in several projects to help develop better citizens and communities. One of those projects is known as Museo Casa del Libro. Serving as the board of director’s president, Jiménez was confronted with several problems. First of all, Casa del Libro had to be moved, from its official headquarters to a provisional place, because the centennial headquarter building had to be restored. On the other hand, the government funds were cut, because of the present economic crisis. The moving of delicate documents, some of them more than five hundred years, is not an easy task. Asking for money in times of crisis hasn’t been easy either. Thanks to the initiatives of Prof. Jiménez and her administrative job, the money needed to move and protect the collection and for the reopening of Casa del Libro was acquired. The Museum is provisionally located at 319 Fortaleza St. at the Callejón de la Capilla’s corner in Old San Juan. “One of my little contributions was to leave two of my graduate students working there,” said Jiménez with a face of


very morning at the kiosk next to the Francisco Oller’s gallery, at the College of Humanities of the University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras Campus, a small framed lady with candid eyes and friendly smile, buys her breakfast. Only a few people at the line know that this woman is in fact a great warrior. Her name is Professor Ingrid Jiménez. She has dedicated her life to the preservation and promotion of arts and knowledge. You may be asking yourself; What makes her different to other professors? Well, she started at a very young age. “I’m redundant and tend to repeat myself,” she said when we asked for her initial goals, and then she added: “I’ve been in love with art since I was a little girl.” In this moment her eyes shined like those of a child. Her parents were fundamental to her education, specially her father, who is an engineer and former professor, as she declares. As a young lady she took every opportunity that was presented to her and the only obstacle in her life, as she said, was “the climbing of the knowledge ramp.” Her studies at the UPR, Mayagüez campus, later at Madison, Wisconsin and her Ph D at The University of Sevilla, Spain, gave her a broad view of the world and the importance of knowledge as a way to develop better citizens and better communities. At Wisconsin she came in contact with people from different countries and cultures. She cultivated friendship with people from Asia, Africa, and United States, to Ethiopia, Nepal, China, and Middle East; even from the

“I’m interested in analyzing this one [Contemporary art] but I’m more attracted to the other one because I think there is something deep and …of the human being that we have lost. Jiménez discovered that “Spain is full of art everywhere!” “Walking thru the city [of Sevilla] is marvelous!” she added. were he presents the history of art in four stages: the idol époque. We asked Prof.” For her. however she is not. “For me. etc.” Her love for history is so strong that she had to live on the “oldest street of the city and the country. Her emphasis on this book will be inspired by the nature. my intellect is with Contemporary art and my soul is with the antiquity. this is like living together with history itself. Spain. “not a mere discussion on the local landscape painting but more This love for historical cities is extremely related to her time living in Sevilla. To live in Old San Juan is a unique experience for Prof. After she been so eloquent about historical cities one will think that she’s interested in Contemporary art. . the analysis of current art expressions is fascinating.” she added. She had written art catalogs for several artists like Nestor Millán. I’m fascinated with Contemporary art. Nowadays the documents are available for bona fide researchers and some of them are on permanent display and (or) for periodic exhibitions. the art époque and. she greatly remembered the sevillian cuisine and told us “that’s another good reason to go back to Sevilla as well”. Prof.accomplishment. Diálogo. as she recalled her experience. Prof.” she said seriously concerned. For her. Jiménez had published several articles for international and local art journals and periodicals like Art Nexus. In the near future. Jiménez. I could feel her aura. Iris Irigoyen. As a student at the University of Sevilla. the colonial city has the “feel of a small community town. “Intellectually. the recent times were the image is a symbol subjected to advertizing and commercial purposes. etc. She also has encouraged community members to be an integral part of the project.” she said.” she added to her statement. “I can feel the city under my feet.” “I’m divided. she really meant it. Jiménez is planning to publish a book about the landscape in Puerto Rican painting. As a scholar. After she said this phrase. On the other hand. On the other hand.” said the expert on art theory. Jiménez also expressed her love with Old San Juan’s architecture and her love for the cats that lives around the city. the icon époque. her idea of the image in art is influenced by the journalist and author Régis Debray’s book titled Life and Death of Image (1995). Jiménez about her point of view on art history and her interest in specific art movements and time periods. especially Oriental art because “is an art closer to the gods. However she told us that in a state of mind level she prefer the antiquity.

At the end of the interview. Her appreciation of nature as a delicate system that has been in danger by the human interference is strongly influenced by the recent issue of the pipeline projected to be constructed by the government. we talked about de UPR and the future of the History of Art department at the College of Humanities and she told us about her involvement with the design of a new master degree on Art History and we asked if she was interested in the direction of the department and she graciously declined because she assured that she gives more of herself at the classroom. At the end. .theoretical in the sense of the landscape itself. if some day you go by the kiosk next to the Francisco Oller’s Gallery at the UPR maybe Professor Ingrid Jiménez could be there and you could have a glimpse of an uncommon warrior.” she said. developing the intellect of her students as well as the love for the arts. Her father is one of the engineering professionals that is against the pipeline and she shares the same ideas but from the artist’s point of view.

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