Venezuela

PEOPLE AND CULTURE

Mujer Indigena click on the image to enlarge
Venezuela's heritage, art, and culture has been heavily influenced by the historical evolutions of its Latin American counterparts. These elements extend to its historic buildings, architecture, art, landscape, boundaries, and monuments. Venezuelan culture has been shaped by indigenous, Spanish, and African influences dating back as early as the colonial period. Before this period, indigenous culture was expressed in art (petroglyphs), crafts, architecture (shabonos), and social organization. The Spaniards assimilated the Aboriginal culture and over the years, the hybrid culture has diversified throughout the various regions.

Martin Tovar click on the image to enlarge
Venezuelan art is gaining attention within and outside the country. First dominated by religious motives, in the late 19th century it changed to historical and heroic representations, led by Martín Tovar y Tovar. Modernism took over in the 20th century. Some remarkable Venezuelan artists include Arturo Michelena, Cristóbal Rojas, Armando Reverón, Manuel Cabré, Jesús-Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez (who both contributed greatly to kinetic art) and Yucef Merhi.

Teresa de la Parra click on the image to enlarge
Venezuelan literature began developing soon after the Spanish conquest, and it was dominated by Spanish culture and thinking. Following the rise of political literature during the Independence War, then came Romanticism, the first important genre in the region, whose great exponent was Juan Vicente González. Although mainly focused on narrative, poets also figure with great importance, Andrés Eloy Blanco being the most famous of them, and also Fermín Toro. Major writers and novelists are Rómulo Gallegos, Teresa de la Parra, Arturo Uslar Pietri, Adriano González León, Miguel Otero Silva and Mariano Picón Salas.

The great architect of the Venezuelan modern era was Carlos Raúl Villanueva, who designed the Universidad Central de Venezuela, (a World Heritage Site) and its Aula Magna.

Joropo click on the image to enlarge
Indigenous musical styles are sort of a crucible of Venezuelan cultural inheritances, most exemplified by groups like Un Solo Pueblo and Serenata Guayanesa. The national musical instrument is the cuatro. The typical or representative musical styles are mainly from the llanos area and its surroundings, such as Alma Llanera (by Pedro Elías Gutiérrez and Rafael Bolivar Coronado). The Gaita (music style) is also a popular style, played generally during Christmas, typical of the Zulian region. The national dance is the joropo.

Martin Tovar click on the image to enlarge
Venezuela is also known for their world famous baseball players, such as Luis Aparicio, who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York (USA). Although baseball is tremendously popular (it's the national pastime), football (soccer) is also gaining popularity, due to the increasing performance of the Venezuela national football team.


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