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Maruja Mallo

Maruja Mallo was first and foremost free.

When you think about a famous painter from Spain all the names that come out are masculine. The reason why is not because there are not female Spanish painters, it is because history is not giving them the recognition that they deserve. I am really far from being an art expert, but I know how women have to face challenges due to gender biases, from finding difficulty in training to selling their work and gaining recognition.

Maruja Mallo is one of the women that fight for her own place in the world of art of the twentieth century to become one of the most representative figures of the Generation of 27 and one of the great international exponents of figurative surrealism. She was revolutionary and became part of the vanguard movements in Madrid with other great names of the moment, such as Dalí, Alberti or García Lorca.

Born in Viveiro (Lugo) when she was 20 she moved to Madrid to start studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in San Fernando, where she established a great friendship with Salvador Dalí but eventually left the academy because of the restrained system.

Her style went through two different stages, a colorist in her 20s with magical, cosmopolitan and optimistic themes; as the paint “Verbenas” that represent the festive moment of Madrid and another more dark, chaotic and unbalanced in her 30s when her paintings were invaded with a reflection of the putrefaction of the situation of the moment.

From 1936 Maruja began to prepare exhibitions with other surrealist painters in London and Barcelona. She also participates as a teacher in the Pedagogical Missions in Galicia, where she was born and where she was surprised a few months later by the Spanish Civil War.

After the outbreak of the Civil War, Mallo went into exile in Latin America, she continued her work while writing articles in support of those who were still fighting in Spain.

It was in 1966 when the artist returns to Spain with the fear that Franco would remember her. She found that the world she had known had disappeared and all her friends were either buried or in exile. She barely painted anything else until her death, in 1995

I take this opportunity to remember Maruja Mallo as one of many artists exiled, repressed and persecuted by the Franco regime, some of whom were lucky enough to leave for new places where they continued with their careers. But we should remember that some were killed and most of the ones who stayed on the fronts of battle died.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Alba Esteve, a volunteer from Spain.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3, which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.