This interview with Énder Cepeda (b. 1945) was conducted by journalist Josué Mora for the exhibition Los maleconeros (Caracas, 1978), held at the Centro de Arte Euroamericano. It reveals the experiences lived by the artist in the piers and neighborhoods of Zulia, when he worked as a longshoreman at the port of Maracaibo in the 1970s, which he used to fully portray social reality in his work. Cepeda emphasizes that his work is the product of his daily life; because of this, the show is a decisive influence on his creative process and the first time that his work has been shown outside his native city.
Of note is the information offered by the journalist regarding the connection between Cepeda and what critics have called the “School of Maracaibo,” which grouped together artists from the state of Zulia such as Henry Bermúdez, Carmelo Niño, Ángel Peña, Edgar Parra, Pedro Piña, and Emerio Darío Lunar, among many others. Beginning in the 1970s, they all turned their backs on the academic tradition, creating an artistic movement of young people in Zulia. The importance of this interview stems from testimony by the artist on the evolution of his work, reflecting on the characters in his paintings—many times taken from real life, dramatized, and transformed with a characteristic touch—recreating them as rotund characters, full of humor and satire.
In the interview, Cepeda states that his work is not limited to or classified within social realism. He sees his environment in a personal manner and captures it in that way. He believes his work is a transformation of the reality he perceives in his surroundings; a reality that changes through his painting, which converts it into Surrealist images that possess a perspective expressed in its very representation.