If you take a good look at the Nostalgia sculpture you'll notice there's a strange difference in coloring between the body and the legs... why? you may ask. Well... it's the result rubbing thousands of visitor shorts on the lap of the sculpture, they've made it shine and change color. Visitors all want to have their photo taken there on their lap, something that has been going on ever since it was unveiled here on the boardwalk in 1984. There's an inspiring backstory to this artwork. Read on :-).
It's sculptor José Ramiz Barquet that's behind most of the public art in Puerto Vallarta. Even his own love story inspired and was frozen in time, in these soft bronze figures.
After finding the woman he loved and then losing track of her for 27 years, in a twist of fate they met again and married, a union that lasted 33 years. This is the place where the lovers sat looking at God's masterpiece and talking about their "almost life" together.
"Nostalgia" is an artistic testimony of the Puerto Vallarta love story between the sculptor and his wife Nelly Galván-Duque Tamborrel. A love that was born and lasted on through time and events until it became a passionate reality.
It is without a doubt, the most famous and loved of Ramiz Barquet's sculptures in town, it has been on the Malecon for decades and has a beautiful and romantic love story to back it up...
A couple sits, close together, looking into the distance to the town, the sea, the hills, and jungles, enjoying the moment together, in love, a love that lasts, in the case of these metal beings, maybe, forever.
It's one of the older sculptures on the Malecon, the Seahorse statue was unveiled in 1976, "Nostalgia" was the second one placed here. It became part of the seaside boardwalk thanks to donations by a group of citizens and the local government, on May 31, 1984, by the then Governor of Jalisco, Enrique Álvarez del Castillo.
The story behind the sculpture has both Ramiz and his wife Nelly Barquet as main actors, it's the memory of a love story that surmounts many tests and errors, that finally after decades ends with marriage & happiness.
In the words of the artist:
"Nelly Duque Galván and I met 65 years ago. We planned to get married, but it wasn't to be. We went our separate ways. Nelly got married, and had four children. I got married and had three children. After a long 27-year period we met again. This happened in a flower market in Mexico City in 1973. I started visiting her, traveling to Puerto Vallarta for a few days now and then. I visited the little town, climbed the mountains that surrounded the huge bay. I looked out at the ocean and was amazed. I was speechless, I was captivated by what I saw, by everything that surrounded the legend of Nelly, and I decided that one day I would return here, together with her, and live in the magic of Puerto Vallarta.
I can say that Puerto Vallarta is a paradise, that after having traveled so many other places, I have found that there is no other place like this. The bay is beautiful, the ocean and the mountains smile in eternal radiance. This is how I express my feelings. Nature feeds the spirit, nourishes and enriches the best in our being.
One night, on the eve of my return to Mexico City, I invited Nelly out to dinner at O'Brian's restaurant, which was a quiet place at the time. We dined well, happy and satisfied. Afterwards, we walked along the boardwalk, and finally we sat down in front of the sea, there on the semicircular platform that already existed, and where one day "Nostalgia" would be placed. We spoke of the infinite beauty of God and his manifestations. And little by little, a feeling of sorrow invaded my heart at the thought that the next day I would have to leave Nelly and Vallarta.
It was then, in front of the sea, that the idea came to me of creating a sculpture that could combine my multiple emotions, and my deepest and most indescribable feelings, and "Nostalgia" appeared. It represents two figures contemplating the Sea, the Mountain, the Little Town, life with intense joy, and continuing the dialogue about the beauties of God, about the enormous richness of life... nostalgically."
Jose Ramiz Barquet enjoyed and lived 38 years in Puerto Vallarta with his wife, Nelly Galván Duque.
¿Where is "Nostalgia" on the Malecón?
You will find the sculpture "Nostalgia" in downtown Puerto Vallarta where Pípila street meets the boardwalk/malecon.
About the artist: José Ramiz Barquet (1920-2010)
Just as a monument in Beirut, Lebanon, honors his ancestors, his sculptural works adorn the streets and boardwalk of Puerto Vallarta, and honor his adoptive city.
He simply says, "I live here, I love the place and I want to give something back", "Art must be shared, beautiful art leads us to do beautiful things, it makes us better. Why keep it in the dark when it brings so much happiness in the light?".
Ramiz Barquet was born in Mexico City on March 7, 1920, and from an early age, he started carving wood. Ebony and precious woods were his favorites and he always preferred the human figure as his subject, although he has some well-known animals too, pelicans and sharks. He lived for 5 years in Montreal, Canada, studying humanities and exploring nature, something that later always influenced his art.
"As a child, I carved wood, then rock and then marble - a material too cold and only good for rolling out pizzas - until I discovered the superior material, bronze. Eventually, my style would not accept any other material, bronze was the right one for the slim and tall lines I prefer."
He was always a very respected sculptor and artist in the city, not only for his work but also for his active participation in the community and in all cultural aspects of the city. He was the artist behind innumerable works and monuments in the city and can be considered as a patriarch and artistic philanthropist of Puerto Vallarta. He donated the art content of all his local public works and in some cases helped raise funds for the foundry and transportation costs of the pieces. He donated small sculptures to be auctioned and worked to raise funds and resources for local charities for scholarships, the Puerto Vallarta International Film Festival and the Los Mangos Public Library.
He also has works scattered all over Mexico, partly because he was the assistant and protégé of Augusto Bozanno. Master Bozanno was the former director of the famous Academy of Arts in Florence, Italy. He had to emigrate to Mexico City from Italy as a political refugee in the late 1930s for having protested against B. Mussolini.
Another famous work by José Ramiz Barquet, with Lebanese roots (both parents were from Lebanon), is exactly one of a Lebanese expatriate, officially titled "The Lebanese Emigrant" (El Emigrante Libanés), commissioned by the Centro Libanés, A.C. in Mexico City. It was created to celebrate the centennial of the arrival of Lebanese immigrants (expatriates) to Mexico and was placed in the garden of the Lebanese Cultural Center in Mexico City in 1979. It is a work of 1.5 tons and 3.5 meters (12 ft) high in bronze.
This symbol has taken on current importance after having survived the explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, where a replica of the work is located. It has become a symbol of the Lebanese diaspora, its tribulations and its efforts to prosper and maintain its culture. There are replicas of that statue on the Paseo Reforma in Mexico City, in the port of Veracruz, Mexico; in Chihuahua, Puebla, Mérida, Coatzacoalcos, Guadalajara, Saltillo, San Luis Potosí, Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia and more recently on both Canada's coasts, on the Pacific in Victoria, BC, and on the Atlantic side in Halifax, Nova Scotia. More about the sculpture: http://www.emigrantelibanes.com/
He participated in many group and solo exhibitions in Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. He also held exhibitions in US cities such as Houston and Los Angeles.
His most famous work, “Nostalgia”, has been on the Malecón promenade since 1984 and is one of the main visual symbols of Puerto Vallarta. It appears in various magazines, newspapers and travel books. The very romantic story of how he was inspired by his relationship with his wife Nelly has captured the imagination of couples of all ages, serving as a symbol of universal love, as well as a tribute to the special romantic qualities of Puerto Vallarta.
Puerto Vallarta's most famous and beloved sculptor and artist passed away on July 4, 2010.
Other sculptures by José Ramiz Barquet in Puerto Vallarta
The Fisherman (1996)
Located at the intersection of three streets: Libertad, Agustín Ramírez and Insurgentes). It represents a character from Puerto Vallarta's pre-tourism past, a fisherman (according to the artist named "Isidro") who walks the streets of the town selling his daily catch, a vital profession for the people of the early 20th Century.
Spiral Shark (1996)
A piece in honor of the shark, which the artist named "Gaspar" by his friend Gaspar Elizondo. The history of Puerto Vallarta is traditionally linked to fishing sharks too. It is also a creature rejected by man, but created with infinite wisdom that has survived millions of years, with a valuable place in the universe in honor of the perfection and efficiency of its being. Located in a small square ending Púlpito street with Los Muertos Beach, between the La Palapa and El Dorado restaurants.
The Minstrel's Corner (1999)
It represents, as the name implies, a minstrel playing the flute. It is located at the intersection of Hidalgo and Galeana in downtown Puerto Vallarta.
A Boy, A Book, A Future (2000)
At the entrance to the public library "Los Mangos" in Francisco Villa street. It symbolizes the importance of education and access to books as a gateway to a better future for the individual and for the whole of society.
Nothing emphasizes better why a public library is valuable and vital.
San Pascual Bailón (2008)
One of the sculptures that became part of the extension of the traditional Malecón south to the Cuale River (Malecón II). It is located in front of Restaurant Vitea and represents the patron saint of cooks (and chefs).
Autor: M. A. Gallardo