Mask for urban jungle. Raoul Sentenat y Juan Ramirez Ruiz

This past February I received a surprise inquiry by Jeff Amrstrong about Avenue Be, a magazine edited by the late Cuban American poet, painter, photographer and renaissance man Raoul Sentenat. He had just purchased a large amount or Raoul’s Paintings and was eager to find out any information about him. I meet Raoul back in the late nineties in the Grand Street and Broadway flea marked.  I was dealing some cassettes by Chabuca Granda, a great Peruvian composer. Raoul picked it and we started talking not only about Peruvian music but also poetry. An avid reader and expert on all sorts of things, Raoul was specially interested in Quechua poetry. At that time I was playing around with some trilingual texts in Quechua, Spanish and English and we became friends. His loft in Canal Street was a few blocks away. A while later Raoul decided to publish the an issue of Avenue Be dedicated to Peruvian poetry. We translated works by Roger Santivanez and  Odi Gonzales. Raoul was kind enough to get Odile Cisneros to do an English version of my Chunniq, a trilingual poem. Due to some technical issues with the graphic designer the magazine did not come out until Raul had moved to Washington Heights. Knowing that his poetry explored the edges of language and feeble foundations underneath, I lent him a copy of  Un par de vueltas por la realidad by Juan Ramirez Ruiz,  followed by Vida Perpeua, and Las armas molidas.  Being a good reader Raoul was able to see how great and daring Juan’s poetry is, and decided to dedicate the next issue of Avenue Be to him, jus like he did with neyoricans Miguel Pinero and Reverend Pedro Pietri. My job was to get in touch with, who was the founder of radical Hora Zero Movement in Peru. But by that time Juan was very difficult to find. He was becoming more isolated until years later he was hit by a bus in a state of total isolation.  By the time I found Juan we were unable to meet again due to a misconnection.  Following Raoul’s guidance we decided to  put together  a book: Revelacion en la senda del manzanar, homenaje a Juan Ramires Ruiz, the first book dedicated to this unfairly forgotten visionary. This book contains the forst study by a non peruvian scholar, Martithelma Costa, about hima. A lot of work, patience, and money went into it. At that time Raoul had stared painting the art pieces that are in Jeff Armstrong’s and his sister, Rosee Camafreita collection.  Mask for urban jungle was Raoul’s contribution to be book. We had to publish it in black and white for lack of funds. But my main regret is that Raoul did not get to see the book he inspired. Last time we saw him was in an homage to Juan that Rubén Davila  -who reads at least one page of Las armas molidas a day- put together in the Lower East Side.  A photo of that evening circulated in the internet and that is how Jeff was able to track me and let us know that our dear friend Raoul’s paintings are un good hands.  He is also sending us some picks of his works to share gradually in Hawansuyo. The first one is this painting. Glad to know tha both great poets, visionaries and human beings continue their conversation in hanan, the upper realm. 

Roncalla, Walter Ventosilla, Ruben Davila, Alex Julca (standing), Roger Santivanez, Raoul Sentenat

Un comentario en “Mask for urban jungle. Raoul Sentenat y Juan Ramirez Ruiz

  1. What a beautiful series of events! These great artists live on and touch so many lives. It’s a testament to the best parts of humanity, and at a time when we so very need to be reminded of them. Thank you for this story.

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