Oswaldo Guayasamínwas born July 6, 1919 in Quito, Ecuador.
Guayasamín was a Latin American master painter and sculptor. He was born to a native father and a Mestiza mother. He created a Pan-American portrait of human and social inequalities who reached international recognition. He graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Quito as a painter and sculptor. In 1942 he held his first exhibition when he was 23.
In 1948 he won the first prize at the Ecuadorian Salon Nacional de Acuarelistas y Dibujantes. In 1955, at the age of 36, he won first prize at the Third Hispano-American Biennial of Art in Barcelona, for El ataud blanco and in 1957 he was named the best South American painter at the Fourth Biennial of São Paulo.
The artist's last exhibits were inaugurated by him personally in the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, and in the Palais de Glace in Buenos Aires in 1995. In Quito, Guayasamin built a museum that features his work. Guayasamin's images capture the political oppression, racism, poverty, and class division found in much of South America.
Oswaldo Guayasamin dedicated his life to painting, sculpting, collecting, fighting injustice and adulating the virtues of the Cuban Revolution in general and Fidel Castro in particular. He was given a prize for "an entire life of work for peace" by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. His death on March 10 1999 was marked by a day of national strikes by the indigenous people (whom he spent his life supporting) and other sectors of society, and was considered a great loss to Ecuador. He is still lauded as a national treasure.