Helios Gomez Timeline

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  • 1905

    Helios Gomez is born in Seville

    Helios Gomez is born in Seville

    May 27, 1905
    Sue√Īo (Dream), a G√≥mez designs featured in the cover of L‚ÄôHora (Barcelona) on 10th December 1939
    Triana. Last XIX century ‚Äď beginning XX century. Hauser y Menet.
    Helios G√≥mez was born in Seville (Spain) on 27th May 1905. Coming from an immigrant family from rural Spain, he enters very young to work in the ceramic factories of Triana, a popular neighbourhood of the Andalusian capital. He is too young to know yet, but revolution and art would be always come united in his life. As the art historian Jean Cassou wrote of him in the prologue to Viva Octubre (Long live October): ‚Äúhe is a revolutionary, because he is an artist, and he is an artist because he is revolutionary (…). For him, painting, life and struggle are the same thing‚ÄĚ.
  • 1923

    Art and Anarchism

    Art and Anarchism

    September 1, 1923

    La Unión newspaper (Seville), 11th July 1925.
    La Unión newspaper (Seville), 11th July 1925. The page shows some photographs of Gómez and the works he exhibited in Kursaal Cabaret (Seville), a meeting spot for bohemians and intellectuals.

    General Miguel Primo de Rivera is bring to power by the coup d’état of September 1923. He will rule as a dictator of Spain from September 1923 to January 1930. By this time, Gómez enters to participate in the anarchist union Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, CNT (National Confederation of Labor).

    He alternates his artistic work with jobs as a jornalero (peasant worker) for a living. This year, he publishes his first artistic collaboration as press illustrator (Felipe Alaiz: Oro molido ‚ÄúGround gold‚ÄĚ). Very soon, he gets his first artistic exhibitions in Seville (Kursaal Cabaret, 1925), Madrid (Ateneo, 1926), Barcelona (Dalmau Gallery, 1927) and Paris (Saint Michel and Montmartre galleries, 1927).

  • 1929

    Living Abroad

    Living Abroad

    May 4, 1929

    Gomez in front of one of his works
    Gómez in front of one of his works in his Barcelona studio. Featured in Crónica on 4th May 1929 [Associació Cultural Helios Gómez].
    After a forced emigration in 1927 because of his anarcho-syndicalist militancy, Gómez lives for a while in France and Belgium. In 1929 he is in Berlin working as illustrator for the Berliner Tageblatt. This year, he also becomes engage with the Rote Hilfe Deutschlands, the German branch of the internationalist social service International Red Aid.

  • 1930

    Turning to communism

    Turning to communism

    February 25, 1930

    Illustration no. 10 ‚ÄúEl fascismo‚ÄĚ (The fascism‚ÄĚ)
    Proclamation of Spanish Second Republic at Sant Jaume square, Barcelona, 14th April 1931. Photograph by Josep Maria Sagarra©

    In 1930 G√≥mez has his first folder of drawings published in Berlin by the International Workers Association: D√≠as de ira (Days of Wrath). But, by this time, he is back in Spain. Once settled in Barcelona, he collaborates in newspapers such as La Rambla de Catalu√Īa, L‚ÄôOpini√≥ and magazines like Mundo Obrero (Spain) or La Protesta (Argentina) and Monde (France).

    He also reaches a position of political representation in the anarchist union CNT, becoming delegate of the graphic arts section of Barcelona. Very soon he abandons anarcho-syndicalism though. In a book entitled Por qué me marcho del anarquismo (Why I leave anarchism, he announces this political conversion. Accordingly, he enters the Federación Comunista Catalano-Balear (Catalan-Balearic communist federation) and joins the Communist Party of Spain after the proclamation of the Spanish Second Republic.

  • 1932

    Helios Gomez in Moscow

    Helios Gomez in Moscow

    August 26, 1932

    Photograph of Helios Gomez and Ira in Moscow
    Helios Gómez article in La Rambla, 27th August 1934.

    In autumn 1932, he travels to Moscow (Russia) invited by the VOKS (Vsesoiuznoe Obshchestvo Kul’turnoi Sviazi s zagranitsei¬† = All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries). G√≥mez works are exhibited at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, while he finishes in Leningrad his second notebook of drawings entitled Revoluci√≥n espa√Īola (Spanish Revolution), to be published in Moscow, Ogis-Isogis, 1933. In 1934, he would write several pro-Soviet articles about this experience in the USSR for the La Rambla and L’Opini√≥.

  • 1934

    Gomez returns to Barcelona

    Gomez returns to Barcelona

    February 26, 1934

    Illustration no. 1, in Viva Octubre
    Helios Gómez at Viena, 1934. Photo by Gerd Arntz [Associació Cultural Helios Gómez].
    In 1934, during his way from USSR to Barcelona, he visits the places in Vienna where in February was fought the so called ‚ÄúAustrian Civil War‚ÄĚ, a failed workers‚Äô uprising against the threat posed by the Dollfuss‚Äô government‚Äôs shift towards Fascism. Once in Catalonia, he associates with a collective of graphic artists called Els Sis (The Six) and decides to participate in the workers revolution of October 1934 in Asturias.

  • 1936

    Fighting for the Republic

    Fighting for the Republic

    February 26, 1936

    Helios Gómez in a barricade at Vía Layetana, Barcelona
    Helios Gómez in the exhibition-homenage to Durruti [Associació Cultural Helios Gómez].
    Early in 1936, G√≥mez returns again to Spain. When the Spanish Civil War breaks out, he firstly joins the militias and fight in support of the Republic. But, from 1938 onwards, withdrawal from the war front enables GoŐĀmez to pay more attention to his artistic work, although his commitment to the defence of the Republic do not diminish. He is appointed ‚Äúcultural commissar‚ÄĚ of the 26th Division (the former Durruti Column). In Barcelona, he organizes an exhibition in memory of the anarchist leader Buenaventura Durruti, the founder of the legendary anarchist military unit.

  • 1939

    Imprison-ment and clandestine resistance

    Imprison-ment and clandestine resistance

    February 26, 1939

    Illustration of Horrores de la Guerra
    Helios Gómez drawing in the Camp of Montolieu (France) [Associació Cultural Helios Gómez].
    The Spanish Civil War ends with the Francoists defeat of the Second Republic. Cornered by the occupation of Catalonia by the Francoist army, Gómez flees to France with his Division, but he only gets to be imprisoned by the French government.

    Between 1939 and 1941, he would be transferred from one camp to another, and finally imprisoned in Djelfa (Algeria). In 1941, he would request to be repatriated to Spain because of the abuses suffered in this latter confinement. Once in Francoist Spain, Gómez involves himself in the foundation of some clandestine resistance organizations.

  • 1948

    Imprisoned at the Barcelona Model Jail

    Imprisoned at the Barcelona Model Jail

    February 26, 1948

    Photograph of the frontal fresco painting in the Capilla Gitana
    Photograph of the Capilla Gitana, Barcelona model prison. The photograph was published in Diario de Barcelona (Barcelona Journal) on 25th September 1959.

    In October 1948, he is imprisoned at the Barcelona Model Jail, after having rejected the Francoist offer to collaborate with the Regime. He has been arrested several times before, but this time, in 1948, he enters in prison leaving behind his son Gabriel, born in 1943 from his union with Mercedes Planas.

    During his time imprisoned, he paints the ceilings of a cell. This work, known as the Capilla Gitana (Gypsy Chapel), was commissioned by the prison chaplains. This period of captivity between 1948 and 1954 coincides with a powerful rediscovery of his Romani roots.

  • 1956

    Gomez dies

    Gomez dies

    September 6, 1956

    Photograph of Gómez painting in his room at San Jaime
    Photograph of Gómez painting in his room at San Jaime Student’s Residence, Barcelona, c. 1955-1956 [Associació Cultural Helios Gómez].
    In September 1956, Gómez dies from liver disease.

    Since his release in 1954, he has lived in the residence of students of San Jaime de Barcelona, run by former jailmates who allowed him to live there for free in exchange for the mural decoration of the place.

Click the timeline to explore the life of Helios Gomez

Helios Gómez images: © Associació Cultural Helios Gómez, 2020
Texts and images selection: ¬© Bego√Īa Barrera, 2020