FRUTAPARA - VICENTE BARBERÁEspañol. English. Français. Italiano.
totuma or totumo, is the fruit of the Calabash Tree (Crescentia
cujete), a typical tree of subtropical regions (from Mexico to Brazil,
including the Antilles) whose height ranges between 4 and
It has many different names in other countries: calabazo, guaje cirial, güira, hayal, higüero, jícaro, jícaro guacal, taparo, tutuma and choca.
The shell, obtained from emptying and drying the fruit, is used since pre-Columbian times to make home utensils, musical instruments, tools, farming appliances and handicrafts.
The variety of the shells’ shapes were my source of inspiration for creating FRUTAPARAS. When I had a tapara in my hand, I said to myself: “This is an avocado, this is a watermelon, and this is a papaya”. I started painting the shells to decorate our home. Shortly after, comments from people who saw the pieces made me paint and give taparas as gifts to friends and family. This finally led me to name my work and transform my personal artistic expression into what today is FRUTAPARAS.
I was born in Valencia, Spain in 1949. I came to Venezuela when I was 3 months old still in my parents’ arms next to 2 of my 6 siblings. Here I was raised, I got married and built a beautiful family.
I studied Education and majored in Pedagogical Sciences in Andrés Bello Catholic University (Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, UCAB) while I was also studying Visual Arts in the Institute for Professional Improvement of the Teacher Training College (Instituto de Mejoramiento Profesional del Magisterio). My professional practice has been very broad and never related to the Arts; however, I’ve never stopped painting: I’ve painted portraits for my wife and daughters, I helped them in the drawings for their schoolwork, that I also now do for my granddaughters... Anyway, I paint, therefore I am.
As the years go by and new stages of my life arrive, FRUTAPARAS has been my first chance to share my artistic gift with a great deal of people. It was what lead it from being art for us to being art for all.
Making something full of life and color out of a fruit which has already died, and for that creation to carry the labels of “Venezuelan Handicraft” or “Made in
Thank you for granting me the honor of delivering it!