21 July 2008

Roberto Fontanarrosa, one year later

Roberto Fontanarrosa, by Alfredo SábatLast Saturday was the first anniversary of the death of Roberto Fontanarrosa, writer, cartoonist and an icon of Rosario. There was a series of homages around last weekend, including an exhibition of drawings and cartoons by several well-known artists, such as Caloi, Quino and Sábat. The grand opening was Saturday at 7:30 PM on the underground floor of Pasaje Pam, a quaint gallery that goes through a whole block in the downtown. I had no idea there was so much room down there; I'd only been to the ground floor and above.

Fontanarrosa was a superb storyteller and cartoonist, or so they say; I was never a fan of his work. But like everyone in Rosario, I knew Fontanarrosa was more than a celebrity. He was someone you could meet down the same streets you walk every day. He had lots of friends here, which is why he rejected the main temptation of fame for an Argentinian of the "interior" provinces — leaving for the blazing lights of Buenos Aires. Most of our artists, writers, composers and singers tend to do that (our football players do it too, and then proceed to Europe). Fontanarrosa stayed with us and remained a simple guy, making it a point to gather with his friends, until he became too ill for that.

You can read a slightly different and longer version of this article (in Spanish) on Sin calma: Homenaje a Roberto Fontanarrosa.

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