For Cinchona Spain was not only the country of his parents, but it was also his home, the one in which he lived for part of the year fleeing the inclement weather in Argentina, and that another country where he was loved and recognized with awards such as the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities.
It was in 2014, at 82 when Joaquin Salvador Washed Tejón, Quino, (Mendoza, Argentina, 1932-2020), came to Spain for the last time.
That day we visited him because the genius was immersed in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of his best creation, Mafalda, that “piece of furniture that turned out beautiful”, he told us with a voice that was not accompanied by the view, because Quino has long been lived in a “world that is a little out of focus” because of a vision problem.
He knew he was loved and admired, something that he verified that year when he also received the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanitys: “I am glad that Spain has given me an award that refers me to my family,” said the cartoonist after hearing the news in Mendoza (Argentina), the place where his parents, two Andalusian Republican exiles from Fuengirola (Malaga) settled.
And Andalusian was what was spoken at home until he went to Primary, he confessed that day when he proclaimed himself as the first cartoonist to win this award. An Argentine of Spanish blood who did not visit his second homeland until he was 36 years old, when he came with his wife Alicia to do a European tour.
Specifically, it was in 1972, two years after Esther Tusquets published the first Mafalda strips in the publishing house Lumen for the first time in our country. Although they had been published in Argentina for seven years, Quino’s stories reached Spain in small strips that the censorship put a side band that read “only for adult readers” for considering that this girl was “too transgressive”.
Years passed and Mafalda, that girl, everyone’s girl, continued to grow in popularity and tributes grew on both sides of the Atlantic.
So much so that in 1989, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first Mafalda strip, the exhibition “Inédita Mafalda” and three years later, Madrid hosted a large exhibition entitled “El Mundo de Mafalda”. In 2000, Quino returned to Spain to collect the Quevedos Ibero-American Prize for Graphic Humor, awarded by the University of Alcalá de Henares in Madrid.
Nine years after this award, the artist announced that he would stop drawing Mafalda to avoid “repeating himself”, but even so Spain had many joys prepared for him, not only the Prince of Asturias, but also other awards such as the Encomienda de Isabel la Católica de Spain (2005).
Despite his state of health in recent years, Quino has always been, and in 2016 the cartoonist presented his latest book, “Simply Quino”, with old compilations of strips published in the press. And that same year he joined the activities carried out by numerous personalities around the 50th anniversary of the opening of the EFE agency delegation in Argentina.
Today Spain also mourns Quino and consoles Mafalda, that girl that today will surely ask endless questions.