Time, Space, Existence

Cima de Vila in 2001

How it all began
Growing up in Argentina, I used to overhear members of the Galician diaspora discussing Cima de Vila, as a special place, which I, as a six- or seven-year-old interpreted as a kingdom with a castle, or no less than a mansion. I knew that my father had come from a farm in Galicia, Spain, that Cima de Vila had been his home, and that he had left behind his parents and siblings.

I began visiting my family in Spain in 1972; then I was 27 years old, and I had only known my family from photographs and stories. I met my seven aunts and uncles for the first time then.

There were three aunts: Concepcion, Hermitas and Lola, and four uncles: Jose Maria, Julio, Eladio and Teodoro. They were middle aged by then. They had lived in Cima de Vila since they were born.

In December 1972, I flew from Washington, DC where I lived, to Madrid and took the train (the Talgo) to Orense where my family was waiting for me to celebrate Christmas. It was lovely to meet them. They were thrilled to finally get to know me other than in pictures. My stay was short. Barely a week and a half. It was close to a miracle that I had been given vacation time at Christmas given that I had only joined the IMF (International Monetary Fund) in July 1972.

I did not return to visit them until 1986. By then Concepción, my eldest aunt and Eladio, the next to youngest uncle, had died. There was awareness in the family by the 1990s that none of the aunts and uncles were going to get married and that the next generation, three nieces, were going to have to deal with Cima de Vila. 1

Through the early1900s, as I understand it, there was a legal figure in inheritance practice in Spain called “Mejora” by which the firstborn male would inherit the properties with the proviso/commitment that he would take care of his parents until their deaths. In the context of my family that meant that my uncle Jose Maria inherited everything, and the rest did not. My father’s consolation prize was a third-class ticket on a ship sailing to Argentina in 1928 when he was 17 years old.

2001 was a seminal year in this story. Jose Maria had died long before and Teodoro had inherited everything. He was my last surviving uncle when he died in 2001. And I, together with two other heirs, inherited Cima de Vila, and the land.


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by Susana Almuiña


I am an immigrant and feel grateful to be an American citizen. I want others to have the opportunity to live and work here without unnecessary barriers.
The One House Project is a collaboration of 220 artists. The overriding principle of One House is our vision for a country where we are united as one people rather than divided against each other by race, gender, class, religion, or any other means of defining “us” against “them.” Each artist created a 12” panel dedicated to an ancestor of theirs who came to this country, whether voluntarily or involuntarily; Native Americans whose ancestors preceded the arrival of the Europeans, chose their own subjects.

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901 New York Ave NW Washington DC 20001
November 2017


9 Hillyer Court NW/ Washington, DC
March 3-April 2, 2017

press release

Zeitgeist IV, represents a critique of current curatorial practices that focus not on the artwork and intent of the artists themselves but on interpreting the work for the audience. Artists were given a specific category to make work to and the curators provided a lengthy and overwrought critique of the work based on current curatorial practice without benefit of reviewing the actual work. The viewer was then left to enjoy and make up her/his mind about the work without interference given the disconnect between the art and the words to describe it. Sixteen visual artists participated in the exhibition.

My Disappearing Landscape
Quilt, Sculpture and Video

@touchstonewdc – Touchstone Gallery (where exhibition will take place)
@tfawdc – Touchstone Foundation for the Arts (exhibition support and sponsor)