On June 28, 2010 as I continued my vacation and could not resist a visit to the rotunda of Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital. I have frequented the hospital on many occasions, typically to see a sick friend/relative or a new birth. Usually, I am in such a rush and take the attitude of disliking hospitals that I tend to rush past one of the most unique aspects of the hospital and even on the whole peninsula. The rotunda houses the Jordi Bonet Murals which depict life in Northern Newfoundland and Labrador.
Jordi Bonet was born in Barcelona, Spain (his work reminds me of the remarkable abstract and contemporaries of Gaudi’s work, which is greatly influenced by forms of nature and this is reflective of Gaudi’s Barcelona architecture. When in Barcelona, check out his marvels.)
Bonet at the youthful age of 9, lost his right arm. He had will and determination that he would not give up and learned to paint with his left arm. He came to Quebec, Canada and learned the technique of tiles, mosiacs and ceramics. In 1967, Bonet designed and fabricated the murals for the friends of the Grenfell Mission. In taking the time to look at each image, you will note that some are quite realistic, with native peoples, fisherman, water and the forest. While, others are more abstract and certainly open to individual interpretation. His use of color in the project creates a soothing, harmonious feel as we circle the room and realize that these images tell a story about us, our people and that it continues to circle.
I’ve learned two lessons from this visit. One, is to take time out in our everyday lives to really appreciate true beauty. You will find that it is all around you. Two, Jordi was strong willed and determined and so are the people of this peninsula, those who have passed on, those who remain and those who have adventured to other parts of the world. We can all make strong contributions and are a part of the living history, culture and heritage of the people of Rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
Grenfell Historic Properties coins The Jordi Bonet Murals as one of the Peninsula’s best kept secrets…..well I say lets not keep something so wonderful to ourselves. It is up to you to take the time to visit a meaniful piece of our history and heritage that in my mind compares with any piece of art or structure found in any gallery or museum, but I am probably a little biased.
We are talented people, those who have roots in Rural Newfoundland.