Galeria Demetro, located at Lazaro Cardenas 169 just steps inland from the Malecon, is the vision of sculptor Jim Demetro. Demetro, as Vallarta veterans know, is the creator of works including “Andale Bernardo,” the sculpture of the stubborn bronze donkey that adorns the newly spiffed Parque Lazaro Cardenas across the street from the gallery.
Of course, as a relative newcomer to town, I had no idea of the weight his name carried in the artistic community of the area. When I first met Jim, I mistook him for the gallery’s curator…a man with an eye for appealing aesthetics. It was my honor to discover that he had a hand in making the city more beautiful as well, his sculptures on the boardwalk representing some of downtown Puerto Vallarta’s most recognizable landmarks.
The Vibes: This gig requires one keep their ear to the streets of the city, and a tip from a local by the name of Helena informed me of a new bronze statue set to debut for the Centennial celebration. “The Fisherman” pays tribute to PV’s roots as a humble fishing village, its planned placement at the beach end of Calle Manuel M. Diguez providing historical contrast to the collection of spas, boutiques, and other modern amenites within sight of the site.
I walked into Galeria Demetro to find a sunny exhibition area populated by scupltures, paintings, and other media as well as the piece of art known as Eva Demetro, wife of the sculptor and hostess extraordinaire. The glass of water she offered me had both lime and mint…her experience creating an inviting atmosphere shone.
Eva led me on a guided tour, providing a bit of background on the more prominent pieces and making special note of the statue of Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, whose forbidden love affair far from the prying eyes of Hollywood helped bring the tiny town to an international stage. After the tour, she invited me to meet the owner of the gallery…imagine my surprise when the guy from all the pictures in local art publications emerged from the back room.
The Vices: The city of Puerto Vallarta has had a transformative effect on my life in the past three years, and so I find a certain serendipity in the fact that I find myself in this sunny city by the sea as it celebrates a milestone of its own.
2018 marks its 100th year as a municipality and 50th as a fully incorporated city, a distinction that will be spotlighted throughout the year with a variety of commemmorative events. May 31st is the officially recognized date of the centennial, and the grand unveiling of “The Fisherman” is set to take place on this day in recognition of this momentous occasion.
I think I’ve said in this space before that art is that which makes us most undeniably human, and storytelling is a medium I hold in particularly high regard. You see, a story is information given context in the same way a painting is a collection of colors shaped into raw human emotion, and I was fortunate enough to get the origin story for this newest piece of local culture.
“The Fisherman,” a collaboration between the artist and daughter Christine, another accomplished scupltor, was conceptualized in the mind of Jim Demetro after witnessing a slice of life that was likely much more common before the days of Sam’s Club. An angler enjoying a light afternoon siesta had his bucket of fish burgled by a passing pelican, and the bird tried in vain to escape and eat at the same time.
Reacting what what seemed like superhuman reflexes, the fisherman was able to spring into action and stop the botched robbery when the wing’d thief was unable to carry or swallow the large fish. He seized his catch from the greedy maw of the pilfering pelican, striking a blow for humanity against the legions of beach birds that have made similar attempts on our snacks, which are among our most valuable resources.
This work stands as an enduring reminder of man’s problem-solving ingenuity as well as our dominion over the beasts of the Earth…at least, that’s what I got. Art is subjective, you know?
The Verdict: Jim Demetro dedicates his talents to creating works that capture the spirit of the city, and his eponymous galeria has established itself as part of the modern cultural scene by preserving the memory of bygone times. Galeria Demetro also offers sculpting classes and other art courses from November-March, giving those who dream of bringing their mind’s creations into the material world access to the mental and physical tools they’ll need. Maybe I’ll catch you there…hopefully at the unveiling of “The Fisherman!”
The Details: Catch the unveiling Friday, June 1 at 7:00 pm at the beach end of Manuel Diéguez near Langostino’s.
Lazaro Cardenas 169