Looking in from the street, I never thought to take a picture, which would’ve been technically questionable anyway, but after asking permission, I began to record the space before us.
|View over presses toward the door, through which we first discovered the workshop. Past the wrought iron sunburst you see the front door of the house on the opposite side of Cervantes Street.|
Meanwhile, Barry had zeroed in on a print on display at the far wall of the studio. Several pieces of graphic art were on display there, but he was smitten by a wood cut with an especially strong expression.
He asked about the print and it turned out to be the work of the man, who had allowed us inside the studio and who had taken the trouble to show us around, Don Hamilton Reyes Mendoza.
|Hamilton Reyes Mendoza holding his original carving and a print of his woodcut
(I love the …TINTA INVISIBLE …)
|Original wood for “Tormento Climático” by H. Reyes|
While Barry discussed details for a purchase of the print with Hamilton, I continued looking at details in the workshop.
I had assumed this joyous space was simply the usual interior courtyard that you find in every colonial building, only considerably larger, which wasn’t all that surprising in an obviously old building. But Edwin motioned us to follow him along one of the galleries into further spaces connected to the taller de serigrafía.
He let us peek into a classroom, where someone was being tutored in Spanish, we observed choir rehearsals as we tiptoed through an auditorium and witnessed violin instructions, meditation sessions and a painting class for hyperactive children.
Edwin mentioned that he too had received art lessons as a Child here at the ‘casa something of the world’. I didn’t really understand the name, but when I came across a large display, complete with a plaque explaining its purpose, things began to become clearer.
|The Tree of Gratitude of the ‘Casa de Los Tres Mundos’|
|Names of donors, sponsors & volunteers are engraved in the ceramic leaves|
|The tree was created by Danish artist Vivi Bach.
Really? Vivi Bach? What was she doing in Nicaragua?
Even though Edwin explained that Casa de Los Tres Mundos has the mission to bring culture and art to underprivileged children, I still didn’t understand, how Vivi Bach, blond bombshell actress & pop singer of the Wild Sixties came into play? She was well known in Germany through her roles in postwar film and TV productions, co-starring with other popular entertainers of the time, like Paul Hubschmid, Dietmar Schönherr and Hildegard Knef (one of the best chanteuse ever!!), so I didn’t quite associate her with a charitable foundation in Nicaragua. I had to google Casa de Los Tres Mundos to learn more. Since I found five interesting links to the foundation, I’ll place them at the bottom of this page, for you to check out.
But what about Vivi and the ‘Casa’? Danish-born Vivi Bach was married to Austrian actor Dietmar Schönherr for 48 years, till her death earlier this year in Ibiza, where she and Dietmar lived in their retirement. Dietmar Schönherr, in turn, together with the world famous and highly respected and honored Nicaraguan poet, monk, priest and politician, grandson of Polish Jews, Ernesto Cardenal Martínez, founded Casa de Los Tres Mundos in 1989. There is your connection between a Danish Almost-Bond-Girl and this foundation in Nicaragua! The foundation originally aimed to initiate and promote cultural and social projects in Nicaragua, to open doors to an entirely different, creative world, especially for children, through intense cultural exchanges between Europe and Central America, thus combining three worlds [tres mundos] in its walls. Since then Casa de Los Tres Mundos has also taken on the fight against poverty, especially after natural disasters. Austria, Schönherr’s home country, allows its young people to serve their ‘Austrian Service Abroad’ year, an alternative to mandatory military service, here in Granada at Casa de Los Tres Mundo. Overall the German independent, non-denominational non-profit ‘Pan y Arte’ administers charitable activity at the Casa.
Walking through gallery after gallery and courtyards and classrooms, the building continued to unfold before us, until we finally reach the front door.
Stepping back outside and looking around, we realized that we were now on the ‘main drag’, Plaza de la Independencia, near the famous Cathedral, el parque, hotels and all the action. Casa de Los Tres Mundos takes up the entire block between Calle Cervantes and the plaza! And what, do you think, did we see, when we turned around to look back at the building we just left?
Okay, you say, so it’s a fairly grand entry with columns and all that. Big deal. But I say, look more closely.
Two lions are chained to the old façade of the building. This is Casa de los Leones! The imposing yellow mansion I pointed out to you at the end of my last post about the city of Granada. This is one of the most important residences in Granada, a symbol of the city’s riches and a hallmark of its Spanish colonial heritage. Casa de los Leones also happens to be Don Ernesto’s ancestral home, the very home, in which he grew up! Ernesto Cardenal and Dietmar Schönherr didn’t just transform any old building in Granada into a home for their foundation, they used THE building in Granada, one with deep historical roots, as well as personal memories. Somehow I think, this lends even more gravitas to their intentions. Also, I think the older name for Plaza de la Independencia is Plaza de los Leones 🙂
Casa de Los Tres Mundos (Wikipedia)
Casa de Los Tres Mundos (Via Nica, local link)
Casa de Los Tres Mundos (Foundation website)
Pan y Arte (“Brot & Kunst” German non-profit umbrella organization)
Casa de Los Leones (Incredible Spanish-language website with highly detailed information on the history of the Casa. Please comment, if you find the one glaring error I noticed!!)
We had Hamilton’s ‘Tormento Climático’ matted and framed in wood, which seemed to be a perfect fit. The framing was done by David Mallette here in Atenas. It now hangs in Barry’s office and is very much enjoyed. Thank you, Hamilton and David!
Postscript #2: Sadly the’Tormento Climático’ doesn’t exist anymore. Together with the stained glass windows and everything else in this part of the house, it fell victim to a wildfire blaze two years later.