A mural with the image of the scientist Pilar Matteo occupies one of the outer walls of the Museum of Natural Sciences, in the gardens of Viviros de Valencia, in an image that reflects women in science and, according to the doctor of chemistry, allows “the work of the visible woman who has been invisible for centuries”.
Matteo, one of the ten most prestigious scholars in Spain and one of the hundred most prominent in the world, is the latest hero in the “Dones de Ciència” mural project promoted by the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and the Center for Innovation. Ships of Valencia City Hall.
It is the work of the Catalan artist Alba Fabre in which the portrait of Pilar Matteo stands out, in a traditional painting style close to impressionism, and in the background reproduces an original drawing that Guarani from Bolivia of Chaco presented to the world in 1998 in the name of a token of appreciation for the work done in their community.
All this with a color scale that matches the landscape environment and brings together the spirit in which Pilar Matteo works every day, which “Science must be close to the patient; it is the science that embraces. Science and artistic creativity have no boundaries or gender.
Throughout his career, Matteo has focused his professional activity on developing and applying new techniques for polymeric micro-packaging for biocides and natural products to control insects that transmit deadly endemic diseases – associated with poverty – and eradicate themselves.
25 years ago, he created “the painting that saves lives”, an invention that helped fight Chagas disease, dengue fever, chikungunya, leishmaniasis or malaria, avoiding many deaths in the most deprived areas on earth.
During the opening, the inventor in the Valencia region thanked the institutions that launched this initiative “not only for recognizing me, but also for the way I do it”.
“It is not that it is important for women to be visible. Rather, it was an obligation, and it must be done. For centuries women did not exist, neither the world of art nor science and there were women who had made important scientific contributions but only men appeared.”
“I have spent twenty years of my life fighting diseases that afflict the poorest and those who have been overlooked, and this is being done, and in this wonderful place that excites me,” noting that it is important to “move to work in order to be able to change the great problems they suffer from in the hemisphere.” The southern “and to see that we are” normal women and have a voice. “
Regarding the Alba Fabry mural, he noted that it “represents my past life, and my efforts to improve the dignity of people who live in precarious conditions in areas affected by endemic diseases linked to poverty, through chemistry”.
In addition, he added, “She does this under the illusion that she will be a small role model for other future generations, because she awakens interest in science and she does so with a call to gender, which indicates that science and artistic creativity do this. They have no boundaries and no gender.”
Alba Faber explained that before painting the mural, Pilar asked Matteo which image she could feel most like, and among the many pictures that she sent her, she decided that in the background was a drawing by Guarani that contained “her in society”.
“I didn’t want her to be,” Faber said, stressing that it was “a pleasure” to do this work in a “beautiful place” and in a project in which the heroines are women. “I am very proud to represent the painting and the mural,” she said.
With this said, there are actually 18 murals distributed by Valencia and its metropolitan area that make UPV and Las Naves visible brilliant women in science. UPV President Francisco Mora stressed that the project charts a path for pioneering women, who have broken barriers and have been and remain standards in their fields of work.
Valencia City Council’s innovation advisor, Carlos Galliana, stressed that this mural and the rest of the wall paintings aim to “appreciate women in science, in this very male world. It is important for future generations that these paintings are mirrored and can want to study science.”