Magno Bennett’s art doesn’t go unnoticed in Galápagos. You find replicas in stores, it adorns hotel and museum walls (such as the Interpretation Center in San Cristóbal). His artistic output has become part of the islands’ identity. Images portraying rays chasing each other, schools of hammerhead sharks in the ocean deep, his art always seems to depict nature and is always full of color. “An artist is his environment… he breathes what surrounds him,” explains Magno, and his work certainly seems to be an immersion into the archipelago’s dramatic hues: sparkling turquoises, shimmering blues, the reddish tinge of the horizon, the sculptural black of the islands’ geology…
Magno can’t remember a moment in his life when he wasn’t painting. At seven, he was already making a living with his art and at 19, he abandoned his dreams of professional football — he was a goalkeeper “and quite a good one” — to become a fully-fledged artist. Galápagos came later, a decision that stemmed in part from his desire to seek solace from his bustling hometown of Guayaquil, and in part from luck: a temporary gig at PetroEcuador required him to travel to Santa Cruz to make the company’s posters, which at the time, required an artist to reproduce them by hand. He has now spent more than half of his life on the islands.
“An artist is his environment… he breathes what surrounds him”
His art portrays the beauty he witnesses in Galápagos every day, but it’s also the result of decades of experimentation to create his own pigments, paints, canvases, sealants, etc., from scratch — one has to improvise everything in remote places like Galápagos. His oeuvre is also the patient consummation of his unique style. Magno’s art, beyond its aesthetic qualities, is a cult to art itself, a meditative practice intimately linked to the environment, a conviction that “art” is never an ornament, but an instrument… a conduit for inspiration, a reflection on the human condition in the world and on how our environment permeates the soul.