When I went to primary school, I was enchanted by the plastic hour. She wasn’t good at drawing, but she was prolific and patient. One of the things that I liked the most was to make collages and something that in the seventh century was called, which consisted of refilling a sketch with shredded icing paper with the tip of the birome. We did it with shiny paper and a sequin effect was generated. Afterwards, I abandoned the fine arts completely.
A few weeks ago I was in Rosario and Virginia, one of Estela Figueroa’s children, invited me to her house because she wanted to show me some collages that her mother had. I didn’t know that Estela liked the collages and she got me excited about the idea of seeing them. Virginia lives in a fancy department, in a huge building. In the lower plant there is a gallery of locals who were closed because it was Sunday morning. Virginia prepared her and introduced me to her kitten Lucy: Mama le put her name, said her. Estela didn’t know the department because she hadn’t left Santa Fe for years. The last time she had traveled to Rosario had been to the International Poetry Festival. Precisely the collages that Virginia wanted to show me were on display at the festival this year. At the top of the table, in front of the window that gives a completely free panorama of buildings, while we are in the center of the city, there are the tazas and the carpet with the drawings. Virginia invites me to see them with a gesture while she arms a cigarette. I open the carpet and empiezo to pass the hojas size oficio, canson paper, from ese que we used in the school. Every time I take one, I feel like squeezing it against the pecho, but I hold back. As you know, Estela and I never saw each other, so these works are so close to her that I can play.
The letter is small, as she said of her work in this wonderful poem to her friend Manuel Inchauspe: “Las nuestras, mi amigo, / are small works. / Escritas en la intimidad / y como con vergüenza. / No high tones. / We look like the city / where we live”. In exchange for the collages they are sinvergüenzas: funny, ironic, spicy… as she dedicates it precisely to the festival, I probably choose the trip to this trip. I imagine myself sitting at the table of the eater of her house that I also know that she armé in my head through her poems and the photos that Natalia Leiderman took. I imagine myself at the table full of magazines, a plastic bottle, the cigarette held in the cenicero, Estela with the tijera in her hand, perhaps laughing in advance like me río yo mirandolos, años later. In this festival collage is the image of a chanchito hidden behind some flowers. The chanchito or the chanchita has a pearl collar drawn, on the body written “Estela” and the hocico sale a dialogue globe that says: “I explain myself how to save the skin”. Another of a uterus pulled out of these school manual sketches, a hand that is putting a speculum and a canary that says: “We are complicated, aren’t we?”. We took it and we reímos with Virginia, better said with Estela. We talk about her mouse, about her last days, about her disappointment when she leaves us with her death. Virginia tells me that in the door of her room, Estela had a lot of things stuck, as if the door was another collage. Like el cuarto de una chica, I say smiling. The visit is brief because I have to return to Buenos Aires. When I salgo the pedestrian street, it is deserted and uncrowded. However, it was cold, with a few weeks until spring.
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