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Maral Ríos, La Línea: Life and Art After Heart Surgery

Soraya Fernández · Photos: Fran Montes

[Photoshoot Gallery!] Maral Ríos (La Línea): A sea of heartbeats and a lesson in life | Art and Life After Heart Surgery | Campo de Gibraltar

Life put her through a tough test, and she decided to leave everything behind to dedicate herself to her passion; painting, using the sea as her inspiration and guide

Maral Ríos is from La Línea and although she is only 35, she already knows what it is like to look death in the face. Four years ago, she underwent open-heart surgery and decided to enjoy life once again and dedicate herself to what she loves most; painting. Her works transmit freshness, strength and passion.

Maral Ríos, La Línea

She worked as a pharmacy assistant for nine years but, as she says herself, the reality of life changed her: “Life put me in a difficult situation. I started experiencing heart problems and was subsequently fired, so I began painting. Painting is my life.”

After the ordeal, Ríos has clarified her priorities and her goal is simply to enjoy what she does: “I’m happy painting, I don’t aspire to much more. I paint and, if people like it, great, and if not, it doesn’t bother me either because I’m doing what I love. I’ve been through a lot already.”

Maral is grateful for this second chance in life and wants to make the most of it. Not only have her priorities changed, but also the way she sees things: “It’s been worthwhile to dedicate myself to what I enjoy the most. I’m happier now. I was dead, my parents were even offered condolences. Having a second opportunity to live and, on top of that, doing what I like is priceless. Now I appreciate things more. I’m not saying I’m a better person now, I’m the same person, but I do value things more and I live in the moment, because I’ve seen first-hand that life is truly short.”

All her work revolves around the sea, an inexhaustible source of inspiration for her. “I started doing abstract pieces, but then I turned toward the sea, because that’s what I’m comfortable with and what makes me feel like I’m really creating. The sea gives me strength and vitality, it’s amazing. I can’t describe it. It’s everything to me. I take strolls on beach every day; I need to see the sea daily, it is essential to me.”

It all happened spontaneously: “From the moment I started to put brush to canvas; the seas started to come out. When I paint the sea, I go into a state of ecstasy, it’s hard to explain. The sea is endless, you can get lost in it. Its chromatic range is enormous. Every wave is different, and there are so many seas in the world… I love to travel and, every time I do, I visit the seas for inspiration. I have painted seas from Japan, Iceland and many other places. I don’t know what it is about the sea – it’s like my obsession; an addiction.”

Maral Ríos is creating a niche for herself in the artistic scene despite the fact she only began to devote herself to painting intensely four years ago. The first time she was able to exhibit her work was in her hometown, at the Cruz Herrera Museum, in April last year. But her works have also been exhibited in Málaga, Gibraltar and the Baluarte de San Roque Gallery in Cádiz.

Gastronomy Meets Art

Maral Ríos La Línea: Art Heart Surgery

Her latest exhibition this summer was held at the prestigious restaurant Aponiente, owned by famous seafood chef Ángel León, in Puerto de Santa María. Cuisine and art united by a single passion, the sea. And it was a resounding success.

She is now immersed in a new ‘creative phase’ and plans to hold exhibitions in Madrid, Portugal and Russia. “I want to focus on one strong exhibition this year, and that’s something that requires a lot of work. After the Aponiente exhibition, I have to start from scratch and create again.”

And create she will. She doesn’t need to travel far for inspiration. “A lot of people don’t value what we have here. It’s mind-boggling. We are surrounded by two seas, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. I proudly promote the beauty of La Línea everywhere I go, and it’s a pity that it is not valued.”

Maral Ríos La Línea: Art Heart Surgery

Of all those which she has painted, when asked which sea she prefers, her answer is clear: “My sea, the one that gives me oxygen every day. The one next to my house, the Mediterranean.”

Talking to Maral is very educational and encouraging. She advises anyone who is unsure or dissatisfied with what they do to follow in her footsteps: “Don’t be afraid, fear is useless, it only slows you down. If you fail, nothing happens. If you fall, you learn. Life is about learning. I hit rock bottom, only to rise to the surface and enjoy life again.”

[Photoshoot Gallery!] Maral Ríos (La Línea): A sea of heartbeats and a lesson in life | Art and Life After Heart Surgery | Campo de Gibraltar

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