Emiliano Gironella Parra and Pablo J. Rico, Artempatía / Empathy Art, Conaculta / Manos Manchadas de Pintura, A.C., 2015

In his text “The therapy of art”, which introduces the reading of Artempatía / Empathy Art, Rafael de Tovar y de Teresa expresses the firm conviction that “education and culture are solid tools in the fight against violence […] they help recompose the social fabric because they can forge awakened and enlightened consciences”. He celebrates the appearance of this book because it traces the way in which outstanding artists – in an arc that stretches from the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya to the Serbian artist Marina Abramovic – have treated the theme of violence and war. “These artists […] are the direct and indirect antecedents of the project of a young Mexican who understands that art is useful and civilizing.” By opening the doors of his workshop to children affected by violence, “Gironella has understood that art also puts itself in the place of others: it is pure empathy.”

Divided into two parts and profusely illustrated, Artempatía / Empathy Art opens with three texts by Pablo J. Rico that analyze art and violence throughout history, empathy and compassion through art, and ethical commitments against violence in contemporary art. The second part, dedicated to the artistic work of Emiliano Gironella Parra, includes three essays, also by Pablo J. Rico: one that speaks of Emiliano’s cycles and series on violence, another examines his art-therapy workshops and a third addresses previous considerations to develop an artistic-pedagogical project against violence. The book closes with an interview of Emiliano conducted by Dr. Silvia Montes, and two texts that address his last two projects: “Heroes” and “Cicatrices.”