David Legal (1940 - )

Tatakua (1986)

Woodcut on paper
height: 49cm
width: 51cm

Donated by David Legal 1997


In both subject matter and style this woodcut shows the influence of the Julián de la Herrería print workshop in Asunción where David Legal studied in the 1980s. This workshop played an important part in building a strong print tradition in Paraguay: from the 1960s a group of print-makers including Edith Jiménez and the Brazilian Lívio Abramo held classes and workshops encouraging printmakers to explore the distinctive culture of rural Paraguay and to experiment with bold tones and forms that are both primitivist and modern. The emphasis on wood blocks rather than metal plates reflects the significance of wood in Paraguayan culture and, as here, artists often exploit the grain of the wood to add texture to their images.

Tatakua is the Guaraní word for a traditional wood-fired clay oven, still an important aspect of urban as well as rural cooking in Paraguay. This is the sort of oven that Hertha Hiebl's Chipera would use to cook her manioc-flour chipas; in Legal's print the dough shapes on the table in the foreground are chipas ready for baking. This scene of the oven, the woman and her simple equipment, and the lush landscape of different sorts of trees and vegetation is created using a variety of cuts and strokes. The atmosphere, like the oven, seems to vibrate with heat.

Valerie Fraser, 2008

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