Episode 3. Antonio: art and nature
Antonio Benítez Jiménez came to Arucas when he was only two years old, from the neighbourhood of La Isleta where he was born. Since then, he has lived in Santidad, although destiny has taken him for years to other places, such as Valencia or Lanzarote. When he was a child, he was already interested in handcrafts, a skill he has developed throughout his life, becoming a self-taught artist who has left an indelible mark in the Municipal Park of Arucas.
Antonio is a self-made man, a tireless worker, who has had to make a living to raise his family through hard work and, above all, a lot of art.
The inspiration for my sculptures comes from nature. When I see a tree, I can easily visualise what it has inside. I had that opportunity with a dry linden tree in Arucas Municipal Park where I started to carve "El Duende"(The Elf) more than 45 years ago.
My favourite place in Arucas is Parque de las Flores, it’s like my second home. When we were young, we used to hang out there with friends, we practically lived there. I cherish many experiences I had in this park and I would recommend everyone to visit it.
A little more than a decade ago, Antonio completed the work of "El Duende"(The Elf), who has become a character that has starred in children's stories and tourist guides of the town. During that time, he started carving a new sculpture on another tree in the park, "The Fairy", which could be called "The Fairy of Solidarity", since, according to the artist, it has the power to grant three wishes if you "high-five" it: one for humanity, another for the author of the work and the last one for the family of the person who asks for them..
The history of the Municipal Park or ‘Parque de las Flores’ as it is popularly known in Arucas, will always be linked to these artisan hands, and to the artistic imprint of Antonio, to whom we wish good luck and good health so that he can continue to express his art and his love for nature.
Production and direction:Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Arucas (Concejalía de Promoción Económica y Turismo)
Editing: Teresa Armesto (Reflejos pro)
Script and interviews: Epifanio Gómez Navarro y David Cabrera Guillén
Photography: Nacho González Oramas
Assitants: Beatriz Jiménez Jiménez; Carla Castilla Falcón y Yasmina Santana Velasco
Funding: Gobierno de Canarias (Consejería de Turismo, Industria y Comercio) y Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Arucas (Concejalía de Promoción Económica y Turismo)