November 30, 2020

Nestor’s costume – The Province

Both architectural landmarks are located between the Doramas Park and the Gardens of the Hotel Santa Catalina, equidistant from the other two landscape jewels that characterize Las Palmas, the historic center of Vegueta-Triana, with the additions of the environments of Perojo and the four hermitages of the cliffs in the south of the city, and Las Canteras Beach, with its four sectors protected by La Barra, in the north of it, which make up, with the set of public and private buildings scattered throughout the City Garden, an “island” of peace and quiet in the midst of the maelstrom that characterizes the capital, make up, we say, the three emblematic and unique areas for locals and foreigners.

The Canarian Town was conceived by Néstor, executed, like the Hotel, by his brother Miguel, it was framed, as a definitive work, within his “Typism” campaign, which was nothing other than recovering the island’s traditions to root of its inhabitants and attraction of its visitors.

The Nestorian pictorial period called Visions of Gran Canaria, developed back in the twenties and thirties, proposes an ennobling of popular architecture and, therefore, of the landscape, which goes beyond the cement boxes scattered over cliffs and ravines, with garish tones, and return to the traditional white albeo of the facades.

Each of the details of the attire devised by the artist responds to a traditional precedent embellished, if you will, as a creation that is by an artist, but not falsified


While proposing to build with sensitivity to the soul and the landscape, he promoted crafts and vernacular sports, songs and forgotten dances. And it was in this search and investigation of popular culture where he realized the non-existence of an essential component in the representativeness of all people, their own clothing.

It all began almost a century ago when Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre was commissioned to organize the contribution of the Canary Islands to the Cavalcade of the Regions in Madrid. He designates a rondalla for Tenerife with the finery of the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, not finding any outfit that could represent Gran Canaria, when verifying, despite his attempts, the fall into disuse of the fashions of the 19th century. Faced with this adversity, he decides to order six camels and place six women on their rumps, dressed in the simple and dignified Canarian mantilla, three white and as many black ones, completed with long and aseptic skirts.

After the fiasco, which occurred in April of nineteen thirty-four, the work was put to work and in December of the same year the typical costume of Gran Canaria was presented at the Pérez Galdós Theater, with hundreds of men and women dressed in it, with a resounding success that is repeated three more times, the following December and January.

With the support of artists and intellectuals, the costume was “born”, in which, in the words of Nestor himself…. Each of the details of the costume responds to a traditional precedent embellished, if you like, as a creation that is by an artist, but not falsified….

These elegant and beautiful, especially the feminine, costumes cause admiration in the remaining islands of the Archipelago, as well as among national and foreign tourists.

It is the only one that represents Gran Canaria, designed by an islander on his island, it is his gala dress. Other costumes, sacred to the purists, are worthy of study and research, of exhibition in museums, but, ultimately, some are the result of eighteenth and nineteenth-century fashions imported from the Peninsula and Portugal and adapted to the climate of these latitudes; Others are work suits, worn by self-sacrificing peasant women and fisherwomen in their noble daily tasks, but which in no culture in the world are transplanted to parties and ceremonies.

I fail to understand the sectors that disdain him and even boycott him, in the name of a supposed authenticity, which translates into stages with dancers from groups in work suits, including aprons of some, their own, as we said, to work but not to wear at a festive event; others in suits with frock coat and top hat, western fashion of the 19th century but not at all typical and specific to the Canary Islands; There are also those who opt for combs and ruffled skirts, just because a painter, British or French, visiting the island in the 19th century portrayed an Andalusian resident here and adorned with the unique clothing of that great land.

In the pilgrimages things are even worse, because to the obsession to copy the outfit of the great-great-grandmother, as if in the Canary Islands it had frozen in time and creativity stopped, those with a long skirt and a blouse of flowers are added they think they are dressed as canaries.

In Lanzarote, nor in the rest of the Archipelago, nobody says that the great César Manrique has adulterated his island, why in Gran Canaria, some sectors, accuse the great Nestor of it?


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