Mario, Myrtha and Art:”Caring with Dignity and Plenitude”
Mario no longer has room on the walls of his house to continue hanging his artwork. His room is also full of posters of movies and series that he enjoys. He has a good ear and can predict with surprising accuracy which musicians have a good future. He has published two children’s books.
"I am a writer, a painter and I have other artistic facets. I have been writing for 30 years and art is my form of expression. I write books for boys and girls. The stories speak of the values of respect and inclusion. Without the care I received, I am certain that I would not be the person nor the artist that I am now.” -Mario
When I went to the town to meet Mario, Myrtha came outside to look for me. She is elegant, attentive, with clear ideas and a rich and varied life experience that would need more than one interview to cover fully.
She tells me that she has two children: Javier, a theoretical physicist specializing in artificial intelligence; and Mario, a writer and artist who learned to read before he learned to speak.
“A few years ago, I gave the two of them a canvas to paint. Javier gave it back to me blank, worried about ‘staining it’ because that is his conception of what he can do as far as art is concerned. Mario launched himself into it without fear and did his work. It is clear to me that I have a disabled son for art and another disabled son for artificial intelligence.
In my professional life I have a gold medal from the Cross of Sant Jordi, I am ‘Woman of Europe’ 1994, I have been named three times one of the 100 most influential women in Spain and I am ‘Legend of Diversity’ in the United States. However, I love and it fills me with pride that in Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, the town where we live, I am ‘Mario’s mom’. Mario is important because he takes care of greeting everyone. He has an enormous capacity to connect with people and with the challenges they go through.
I have been Mario’s mom for 45 years. It was never a ‘sacrifice’ to care for him.I know that if I am alive, with a present mind and the desire to continue doing things at my 84 years of age, it is thanks to Mario.” -Myrtha
As part of their commitment to support the artistic talent of people with disabilities, they have created the ‘Artistas Diversos’ association. Myrtha proudly remarks that Beethoven, Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci or Munch could have been members of this association since they all had some kind of disability.
‘Artistas Diversos’ fights to eliminate the social rejection that judges people with disabilities by limiting their capacities. They also seek to eliminate the barrier that limits the professional life of people with disabilities from a legal framework. People with disabilities who receive an obviously necessary pension cannot earn more than €11,000 per year, including the amount of said pension. This cap limits and interferes with a basic right of all people, which is the right to work and the right to develop a professional life through their talents. Myrtha denounces that this is a form of exclusion and discrimination that we must oppose.
“People with disabilities should be able to develop their profession without losing their disability pension. They should also contribute financially to the system with their work. This would increase national revenue while increasing the dignity of people who have every right to develop themselves in every possible way." -Myrtha