El Salvador

Artistic manifestations have been present in El Salvador since Mayan times, a people that according to findings made about its civilization in different archeological sites, had already unraveled the beauty of color and the ways to extract dyes from nature itself. Archeology and exploration of former cities stand for the great attraction about this country.El Salvador preserves a valuable past of indigenous cultures manifested in dances, narration, cuisine, garments, music and different habits and customs stemming from a blend of indigenous and Spanish elements.The most distinctive feature about this particular matter is the number of half-breeds in the country –roughly 89% of the population- compared to 10% of Amerindian descendants and just 1% of white people.Education is compulsory and free in elementary schools. However, the rate of school attendance and the resulting illiteracy are relatively high.The influence of the Spanish-ruled colonial times and European culture can be seen in the architectural style of colonial churches, museums and theaters, as well as in painting of the early 20th century. Some cases in point are Pierre de Mateu and Carlos Imery. From the school of Spanish painter Valero Lecha, such names as Noe Canjura –who moved to Paris where he garnered great recognition- and Julia Diaz, a painter enamoured with Salvadoran children, stand high on the list of successful artists.Julia Diaz set up the country’s first-ever gallery –Forma Gallery- where many a Salvadoran painter had his or her break in the world of fine arts. Benjamin Cañas was one of those nouveau creators who later shone in the international limelight, alongside other great painters such as Roberto Galicia, Antonio Garcia Ponce, Roberto Huezo, Augusto Crespin, and many more.As to contemporary writers, the names of David Escobar Galindo, Roberto Cea, Rolando Elias and Ricardo Lindo are worth mentioning.Salvadoran culture is very active and diverse. There’s a mesh of over 100 houses of culture, as well as theaters and galleries scattered all across the country, that offer visitors all kind of exhibits, entertaining popular parties, international theater and dancing festivals, and a complete presentation season of symphonic music.