July 9, 2020
by María Veronica Cabeza
PILAR, BUENOS AIRES, Argentina ~ With a paintbrush in your hand, you can change the world.
Whoever wants to know something about me as an artist which alone is significant, they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize what I am and what I want.Gustav Klimt
I start this interview with a fact: some butterflies sip the tears of tortoises to feed themselves. [Butterflies Sip Turtle Tears in Stunning Video, Mindy Weisberger, Livescience.com]
Victoria Elena Ferreyra drinks the tears of the suffering, absorbs them, and transforms them into pieces of art which nourish souls. Ferreyra mutates, transmitting life and color: she is a BUTTERFLY.
Hello Victoria, What do you do for a living?
I am a pianist, muralist and a painter; I am also an expert on resilience and social responsibility. I founded and manage an NGO called Pinta Argentina.
What exactly is Pinta Argentina? How did it start?
Pinta Argentina started in 2012 as a personal project and in 2014 it became an NGO. It is a sociocultural initiative for the inclusion and the valuation of humankind. It shows our individual and collective abilities through a universal language, accepting our differences.
Since I was a girl, I experienced how other people mistreated disabled individuals. My youngest sister suffers from Down Syndrome, and that inequity led me to begin a project to stop this through art. With a paintbrush in your hand, you can change the world.
What is the aim of your project?
The aim is to appreciate humankind, to accept our differences and to enrich ourselves from them. I also include seeing the seed of sharing, solidarity, empathy and equity.
You have been worldwide with Pinta Argentina: What countries have you visited and how did it go?
We visited 30 countries and I have even met Pope Francisco in Rome. Travelling along these paths we won many prizes like: José Martí (Cuba), the prize for the arts “Guerrero” (Colombia), the award “Evento Pascual” (Norway), a prize from the Embassy of Denmark (Denmark) “Urban Art NYC” (USA)), “Fundación Par” (Spain), “Urban Art in Paris” (France) and, from the United Nations, the “Prize for Peace and Commonweal”.
Why do you think this dream came true?
Actions that come from good intentions, together with honest work, are compensated. I am a laborer, together with my team, and our main goal is common benefit. I am very grateful to have the chance of giving by means of creating things.
BE – DO – THANKS, she repeats these words constantly. This artist has already pierced my heart.
Have you done anything during this time of Pandemia or is your artist’s sensitivity blocked by being closed in?
Never! I create 24/7/365!
I made a series of 18 paintings that support me emotionally in these troubled times. They free me from confinement. I am going to put them up for sale. They are butterflies and I painted one for each day of quarantine. If I make some money, I will use it to continue my project and others to come.
Was there any feedback when you opened your heart so broadly?
I suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder) and I take advantage of it (I found the positive side of it), by making things, by giving to others. I feel useful and that helps me carry my own baggage. I am at peace with myself.
What do you do when you come across a bad action?
When I chose this career I said to myself that I would never play the stupid one if I saw something or someone who needed my help and I fulfilled what I said: I never look to the side when there is something in front of me that needs my help.
You are a pianist. Do you play somewhere?
Music has been with me since I was born. I remember people asking me “What would you like to be when you grow up?” and I replied, “A musician.”
I don’t play in public, but the piano is my soul, my hiding spot. It preserves me from the evil of the world. I need to play just for me. I connect the vibrations of the colors with musical notes and I think that is what makes the difference in my art.
If the soul of a spectator connects with the simplicity of my art, he or she will listen to my music as well.
She continues…and I don’t want to stop her. I just let her fly!
Music is my childhood, my brothers, my Dad and Mom. The piano is my Macondo [from Cien años de soledad, 100 Years of Solitude] by Garcia Márquez. The magic is there.
You are a muralist too. Tell me about it!
I am a muralist, accidentally. I had no more money for my art and resilient workshops and so I started painting. I give workshops in many provinces in Argentina. In Santiago del Estero, one day, while teaching, a boy approached me and said to me “’Teacher, why don’t you draw a butterfly?’ I leaned toward the wall and opened my arms, a brush in each hand. Those were my first wings.”
What did you find in muralism?
A visual impact that connects with the observer’s gaze. Muralism must be for others and made with others.
Who can be called an artist?
I think only time can say that. In my case I am a laborer and a painter.
All human beings are resilient? What is that exactly?
Resilience is the ability to transform adversity into something positive; weakness into strength. You become resilient as you experience grief in your life. In that way you become stronger and develop empathy, creativeness and your spiritual being.
What place does love have in your life?
Love is all. Love is the engine. No doubt.
Why did you pick butterflies?
Butterflies symbolize the fragility of life and its beauty too. They are seen where there is life. They are in constant transformation. In them, I find souls that are no longer with us.
What is life? Death?
Life: a great opportunity
Death: a fact
Are we solitary creatures?
To be solitary is a choice. It is a feeling that comes from deep inside people’ s souls. It is a daily job. Regarding empathy, I think we have no memory. If we could recall the bad things we do, there would be no evil.
What makes you happy? Sad?
Life is happiness. If my family is healthy, it makes me happy. Love, colors, music, good people. That is happiness to me.
Any stupid human act makes me feel sad.
Is there anything you would like to add?
- Humanity that is worthy of life
- I wish that people would be grateful for the gift of life and generous and in solidarity before they pass away
- I wish I could be a mother some day; I am trying to adopt a baby so I also pray for simpler and more equal laws for everybody
- I wish to gather with my family and friends to share a meal
- Lastly, to fill the world with butterflies
I hold her and, that is my wish. A crystal butterfly pauses on our affection. We wet it with our emotions.
Copyright © 2020 María Cabeza
With a Paintbrush in your Hand, you can Change the World
You can do the same with a pen in your hand. María Veronica Cabeza is a teacher, writer, copywriter and translator based in Pilar, a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina.