Surprise Quito

In your face Earthquake!

Yesterday was one of those rare days when everything deigns to go well. Burried in work yet effortlessly productive, ticking one box after the other, zero stress. In between I cooked a briam (I use my own recipe, a translation of which is not of immediate concern – this one should make for a good reference) and had a first go at baking a tarta de lima. While at it, I also whipped up  Jamie’s amazing chocolate mousse. After (eating half of those) I squeezed in this fab Tracy Anderson butt and thighs workout, also pending for ages. Late in the evening I received some great news (more on that later*) meriting immediate extra attention – it was all happy though. I was this close to an early retirement in the company of a pleasantly mediocre book.

Then the earthquake happened.

And thankfully this time I didn’t act like a 5 year old.
(I was more like an informed teenager.)

I was preparing for this ever since I came to Quito. In a twisted way, I was almost looking forward to it, to get it out of the way. I knew there would be earthquakes. I knew I’d get scared, being on my own. The above were given. And facts they became.

Warm communications from 3 different countries and continents & a few cigarettes more than I would have hoped to consume, eventually got me to bed. Here, let’s take a moment to congratulate me for actually resolving to sleep in my bedroom as opposed to the living-room sofa (offering a swifter escape if need be). In the morning I woke up with a raving appetite and had this (see below) nonsensical breakfast.
And then it was all good (and maybe a little fat).

8:00 am Breakfast of Champions: Chocolate mousse, immediately followed by leftover briam

Like pretty much everybody else, I detest earthquakes. I find them forcefully intimidating. My experience with them is rather extensive and spreads across time and space -the scariest one so far being in the summer of 2013 in Quito (again), while on the 13th floor of an apartment building. Its seemingly unending duration and the way it manipulated the building as if it were a paper toy is imprinted in my mind. At 4.7 (according to  Instituto Geofisico) last night’s temblor was relatively benign, though with the epicenter being in Quito it felt anything but. I cannot begin to imagine what the April 16 earthquake must have felt like but its aftermath tells a heart-breaking story.

Which brings us to SURPRISE-Quito.

If you want to join our campaign contact us at the e-mail above

SURPRISE is an art-charity campaign we have been running at artAZ since 2009. It employs the power of art to offer relief in major societal problems. In Greece we are supporting the homeless via the work of Klimaka NGO. In Ecuador we will support the earthquake victims via Desafio Ecuador.

Desafio Ecuador, initiated by a group of solidary and inspired young people,  champions social awareness and sustainability. The group works with both NGOs and the local Government to gather and channel resources wherever necessary, to improve the quality of life of all citizens.

Roberto Manrique -desafio-ecuador-artaz-alexandra-kollaros
Roberto Manrique in action for Desafio Ecuador

I am very excited that our campaign is going international and even more excited that we are helping this specific cause. To make it even better, things are running spectacular here. The city has embraced our project. The Ecuadorian art scene has united in an admirable display of collaborative spirit (I am sorry to say this has never happened during the 7 years that we are running our campaign -to great success nonetheless- in Greece). We work  together with all the top galleries. We have the leading magazines on our side as media sponsors. We are recruiting other sponsors as we speak. And we have local superstar Roberto Manrique siding with us as, as Desafio Ecuador and SURPRISE ambassador. His video-call for artists is amazing (*ironically it is what I was previewing last night right before the earthquake).
Check it out at the link below (apologies – the free WordPress package doesn’t allow for proper video-embedding)


We know we are the underdog in this face-off. We know the earthquake is super powerful and all. But we have set up a strong, united front and we are determined to strike him a blow.
Every small victory counts.

Please follow me on this journey, with your actions, thoughts or otherwise.

Artwork #1 of many, #surprisequito

P.S.: Artworks are already coming in. Above is the first one we received. It is from a renowned Ecuadorian artist but I cannot reveal his name because it is a SURPRISE!

(Main image: “Thou Shalt not Fear” acrylic on linen Portraits painting by SER & Simoni Fontana)



10 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi from earthquake-ravaged Jama. Have been in transit and will keep rolling tomorrow, but will be sending the original 20 x 25 to UIO in the next few days or will take it myself!

    Will be offline aside from this stop-over at a friend’s hostal.

    SURPRISEquito – almost one week away! Z

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Looking forward to it Zeebra! Bring it over and stay for the opening ☺


      1. I am just now chuckling as I read ‘acting childish’ – Ha! We all have days when ‘the devil’ gets the best of us!

        I met with immigration on a visa renewal today in Manta and will return to Mindo tomorrow.. New owners of the property will arrive in a few weeks – lots happening, but Surprise UIO is in the bull’s eye/center of the target!

        It’s sprinking here in Jama.. strange for this time of the year….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You rockstar! I will take all necessary action tomorrow – now i am semi asleep and on the mobile, not very flexible.
        Thanx Z & goodnight 🌜

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ditto.. i drove for about 12 hours today and have another marathon tomorrow.. time for z as well…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. @8duffels2mutts of course, I would really appreciate it – here it is:
    Please share with anyone you think may be interested.
    THANK U!


  3. We were in the earthquake, too. Only we were on the coast in Manabi, and of course had to relocate because of the damage to our neighborhood. Our experience was quite different than yours. It’s wonderful to see so many artistic endeavors that are supporting rehabilitation of the affected areas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can only imagine.. I promise you, this event will bring results. We are giving it our all. If you know any artists please let them know – we want to mobilize as many as possible!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly, I don’t many who aren’t an artist in some form here! Ecuadorians are so talented! Do you have link that I share on my Twitter?

        Liked by 1 person

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