; and afterwards, they took me to a long corridor surrounded by plants depicting a real Cuban landscape. In this site I had a brief and fruitful chat with the authors of more than 30 books published in several languages. Attracted by a strong desire to learn more about the young Italian woman who loved Julio Antonio Mella (2) I came to this home to meet a woman and a man, both friends, full of wisdom and ready to cooperate.
J. What are Tina Modotti´s values?
AC- “For me, Tina is a source of culture and humanism, so I recommended to scholars and historians to study Tina’s personality without fear, unafraid of passing on her values to new generations. Tina’s life and personality have been much distorted. She is a woman with many unknown values even in her own country although in our last visit to Udine, (3) her birthplace land, we realized that there was a breakthrough because several committees are named afterTina Modotti mainly gathering young people. ”
Adys Cupull believes “these groups are designed to carry out actions, study, know about her work and Cuba and I say: Tina is a paradigm of a woman, because being a woman of humble origin who did not attend university because being of humble origin who could not go to the university, she was capable of learning by herself from every personality of culture she came across with; hence her knowledge about painting, photography, literature and music of her time.
She was an example on her own while becoming one of the early female internationalists during the last century. Tina was a cinema woman of her time, she wrote, even for papers, and struggled for all just causes. Tina went beyond her time due to such stoic life. ”
Adys Cupull pauses and goes to the point: “However I particularly think that sometimes there is a fear to talk about Tina Modotti because there are still very dark minded people trying to build up a distorted image on her and not to be loved by the new generations. They have slandered her revolutionary condition, what is the cause? Communism, to be a communist having advanced and progressive ideas and defending the poor; all that was not to the liking of the prevailing regimes and at that time, and it was troublesome for the young Italian. But today being a communist and having anti imperialist ideals, and against fascism is also troublesome. At present it is evident in Latin America, how our leaders are slandered and under attack and even, threatened to be killed for opposing the empire. That was what Tina Modotti was all about: an opponent of fascism and imperialism. During our visit to Italy we were glad to see that in the house where she was born in the city of Udine, there was a commemorative plaque displayed by a foundation presided by Riccardo Toffeletti recalling her birth and death. There are the verses of Pablo Neruda, the very same appearing on her tombstone at Dolores Cemetery in Mexico, with a picture of her.”
Froilan Gonzalez, who had listened his wife´s words very carefully refers to the time of initial inquiries about Tina’s life: “When we began the historical research on Julio Antonio Mella in Mexico in the seventies, we were serving as diplomats there, our knowledge on Tina Modotti was limited so that historical research led us to Tina and many other revolutionaries but especially to her, and we began to go into the world of both.
Addys wrote a book entitled “Semilla Profunda” published by Pablo de la Torriente publishing house, it was translated into Italian and was presented in several U.S. cities. And then in every book on Mella the presence of the “revolutionary photographer” is constant in our books until the appearance of “Llega el tiempo ” containing forty-seven intimate chronicles Mella wrote during his first trip to Mexico, and a second part in which the relationship between them is presented, or in the book “Julio Antonio Mella contra el facismo ” translated into Italian and well known in the intellectual and political sectors of Italy.
Froilan told us during the interview that Tina was a woman of humble origins, she began to work since she was a young girl at a textile factory in Udine; later she migrated to San Francisco in the United States along with her father who had previously emigrated with her sister Mercedes and there she was going inside that world eventually enriching, “for her talent and beauty she worked in silent films in Hollywood and she became part of San Francisco and Los Angeles intellectuals until she turned herself into the most important photographer of the twentieth century. Her photos are famous because they touch social aspects. ”
Froilan provides a special importance to the visit to Udine: “Having shared with Riccardo Toffeletti and the President of the Association of Friendship with Cuba and traveled the streets and gone to the house where Tina was born was highly moving and sentimental for us. ”
The conversation line about life and work of this exemplary woman bends when I asked him, How would Tina have reacted before the current crisis of immigrants living in Europe? ”
FG-“She was an international struggling woman and before this situation she would have been so, a consistent fighter all his life against injustice anywhere. Tina struggled against war and in defense of the proletariat, in defense of children. For the young people today the Italian revolutionary left many values, including internationalism and her self-taught ability, learning by herself, becoming a writer and mastering seven languages, including the dialect of her region, Friulian and as I said, she was a great photographer. She was a woman who grew up and faced all difficulties. “Tina with her modesty said “I am a photographer and nothing else” (4)
Translated by: Daysi Olano