Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Miriam Gil

Miriam Gil. Artist. Taken August, 2, 2011

I first met Miriam in the early nineties while volunteering at the Pacific Cinematheque. We worked the coffee bar. It was loud and the combination of the  coffee machine, popcorn machine, and her Columbian accent meant that I could almost never catch what she was saying. When I could hear her we talked about art, film, and writers. Since high school I had loved the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Miriam told me that in Columbia he was so popular they just called him “Gabo”.

The only certainty was that they took everything with them: money, December breezes, the bread knife, thunder at three in the afternoon, the scent of jasmines, love. All that remained were the dusty almond trees, the reverberating streets, the houses of wood and roofs of rusting tin with their taciturn inhabitants, devastated by memories. – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Living to Tell the Tale.

I rented a room in her house for a few years. There were late night conversations over bowls of steaming chocolat√©. There was a tulip tree that grew too close to the house. I could open the kitchen window and hang a bird feeder in the branches. I filled it in the morning with a teacup tied to a broom handle. The Steller’s jays loved the seeds and screeched their delight when it was full. Miriam had many friends and one Christmas she made a huge basin of a traditional Columbian potato-chicken soup. It was not served until late and it had a strange narcoleptic effect on the guests. Taking turns, in twos and threes, the guests fell asleep. A couple would doze for ten minutes, and wake up, only to find that another couple was drifting off.

She is a teller of stories, a painter and artist. You can find her artworks on her site

Here is an index of portraits.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tim,
    Thanks so much for the insightful memories of the steaming hot chocolate, the bird feeder and the quote of "Gabo"'s own memories. Words are a tunnel to our memory, and you have the gift the story teller.

    I shall also add that the tulip tree in which Tim hanged the bird feeder was accessed from the second floor by the kitchen window facing the mountains. Tim created a sophisticated devise to reach the feeder, which he made by using a long pole to which he attached a fork. The spikes of the fork were twisted in such a way that they could hold a cup full of seeds. The bird feeder itself was another original design by Tim McLaughlin, made by using a hard cover book, open and facing downwards acting as the roof of the feeder. He pierced each corner of the book, and passed a wire though each hole. The end of the wires met at the bottom of the feeder, and held a small dish containing the seeds. Needless to say, the bird feeder brought another set of sounds to our soudscape, as the craws, stellar jays, starlings, and other small birds competed for the seeds. Tim is a constant inventor, who would come up with the most amusing solutions to his original creations. I used to call him "my pandora-box friend, as he was - and still is, in continuous state of creation.

    M. Gil