I first visited Spain, or to be more precise, the Balearic Islands, thirty-three years ago, and have been regularly visiting the Almeria region since 1985. I finally moved here to live around 6 years ago, yet, until recently, had never attended a Bullfight.
I have never had a problem with this particular manifestation of Spanish Culture, not being given to hysterical animal rights outbursts, and rather viewed it as a rich and colourful evocation of Spanish tradition. That said, I remained largely ignorant of it.
When I met Miki, and began to develop an appreciation of “the ballet between man and beast” that is so evoked in her Bullfight art, I felt that I would one day attend a Bullfight myself.
And so, towards the end of last year, on the Occasion of the annual fiesta in our village, Turre, we went along to the large portable arena on the outskirts, where I came face to face with this great Spanish tradition.
What you have to understand is, I viewed it from a unique perspective. I had come to know Bullfighting through Miki’s paintings, each pass, each Olé, each carefully choreographed stage, beautifully illustrated, scene by scene. I had learned about the picadores, the different capes, pink and red, and the importance of a clean kill.
As I sat above the dusty ring, outside this humble village, my eyes were assailed by pomp, ceremony, and a riot of colour! As the Bullfight commenced, I was stunned as what seemed to be an endless series of Miki’s images leapt into life, right in front of me. It was a profound moment, I understood the passion of this misunderstood art, and the reverence and respect the fighters themselves have for their powerful adversaries.
A thrill coursed through me as each bull careened into the arena, snorting, stomping, a seemingly unstoppable powerhouse. In that moment, I think I knew that man and beast are inextricably linked in a profound and ancient manner, and to seek the demise of this incredible spectacle would be the equivalent of gelding a nation.
By Kev Moore