b. 1905, Seville, Spain; d. 1956, Barcelona, Spain
Días de Ira (Days of Wrath), 1930
Published by the Internationale Arbeiter-Assoziation Berlin
25 prints, facsimile reprints
Untitled (Self-portrait as Guitarist in ‘Días de Ira’), 1930
Drawing, 33 × 24 cm, facsimile reprint
Untitled (Self-portrait as Guitarist), 1925
Drawing, 11 × 17 cm, facsimile reprint
Helios Gómez was a key figure in the libertarian anarchist and communist agitprop produced during the Second Republic and the Spanish Civil War. He made this publication in support of the International Workingmen’s Association (IWA) in Berlin in 1930, under the influence of Frans Masereel and as part of the German constructivist and socialist avant-garde. In his self-portrait as a flamenco guitarist for the frontispiece, Gómez linked his artistic expression to the popular culture of the community he came from. Helios Gómez was always open about the celebratory nature of his works, which combined critique and fiesta in a way similar to Catalan auças, or to the rhyming couplets of the many anthologies of blind singers that are one of the poetic sources of flamenco.
This dual nature perfectly encapsulates the importance of artists like Helios Gómez, who did not only produce a personal body of work but also participated in and established various art scenes in the course of his life, from the Ultra movement in Seville around the magazines Grecia and Mediodía, to founding and becoming the first president of the Sindicato de Dibujantes Profesionales de Barcelona in 1936, with the Civil War underway. Gómez was always an active militant, associated with CNT/IWA and the Communist Party at various times, and accused of terrorism and political rebellion. In the final years of his life, when he was an inmate of the Modelo prison in Barcelona, and after he had spent time in concentration camps in southern France and northern Algeria, Gómez became aware of the political subject that Roma should represent, and embarked on a series of research and dissemination projects on the Roma people.
Helios Gómez was a Roma artist and a pioneering activist who fought for the demands of people from anarchist and communist circles. He was named after the Masonic name of his father, Helios, who was also one of the founders of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) in Seville. The Helios Gómez Cultural Association in Barcelona was set up to study and disseminate his work: www.heliosgomez.org/index.htm