El Resplandor
PrismaKh, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Text: Alberto Sendros, 2015

El resplandor [The Gleam], by Alberto Sendros

I never wrote a text for an exhibition even though I was asked to many times and I would not have done it this time either if it were not for the fact that both the artist and the subject of the work are so close to me.

One day, Cynthia painted a rooster from a henhouse… When I saw it sometime after, I talked to her for the first time about fighting roosters. I surely did so very enthusiastically as a few days later we were already talking about… an exhibition.

I am very close to fighting roosters. They are part of my most remote memories. My father was, and still is, a “cocker”. I was born in a house where there was a backyard with a shed/stud, a shed with numbered cages and a leather fence in the center.

My uncle Juan—my father’s only brother and also a “cocker” with his own stud—would come to my house on Saturday mornings for practice fights. The aim of those training fights was preparing the instinct of those animals that were jealously taken care of. They were bloodless fights, with no death, because the spurs and the beaks were covered with “plugs” and “beak covers”.

My house was never the venue for real fights. Those fights took place on Sundays and were far away… In Esperanza, in Concordia, in Lavanda, in the Termas hot springs, at a celebration called Fiesta del Señor de los Milagros [Lord of Miracles Party] in Salta. I rarely entered the shed. I did not like roosters or cockfighting.

It was many years later that I discovered the important tradition and culture around cockfighting. As well as the valuable life lessons that could, and can, be drawn by looking at the rooster and following the alternatives to the fight. The culture of the cockpit has infinite wisdom and codes that may be passed on to human life. Bravery and nobility by dying fighting… A parallelism may be drawn between all those qualities of a rooster in a fight and others in human life. Some roosters die pecking while others abandon the fight making the opponent win in the pit. And there are men who, also, do one thing or the other. I learnt this when I was very young, in the shed in the backyard of my house.

Today, Cynthia offers me this extraordinary opportunity to remember my childhood from this unexpected stance. To acknowledge the important value of things I witnessed indifferently. And, also, to build a new bond with my father and his world which, still today, are both so strange and distant to me.

Alberto Sendros, 2015