Magic realism wildlife art: CNH Tours commissions Magno Bennett


We’re very proud to highlight the work of Magno Bennett on our website.   The original artwork used as banners on the site’s various pages were produced by Magno 15 years ago.    We met Magno while we lived in Galapagos.  A handsome, gregarious and warm man, Magno could be seen cycling around Puerto Ayora with a broad smile, waving hello to all his friends, and trailing thick dreadlocks as he passed by. When he had to go, his parting motto was always “¡Éxito!”  (success!).  

Magno has been a fixture in the Galapagos community since the 1990’s, when he came over from the mainland.   He was taken under the wing of the late Christine Gallardo, an American woman married to the owner of the local hardware store.  Christine was a pillar of the cultural scene in Galapagos – back before tourism took off.   She ran the best lending library out of her own home.   Christine encouraged Magno to explore his talents and helped him raise the profile of his work.  

Over the years, Magno became more involved in the local arts scene, helping Galapagos youth find their inner artist and raising the profile of art as a respectable and valid form of expression in what was otherwise quite a frontier town.    He was commissioned to produce murals and eventually took on a job working with the newly established cultural centre.  

All these distractions took him away from his art.   We kept on asking him if he was producing anything over the years and he sheepishly responded that he didn’t have the time.   We did manage to buy two pieces from him 10 years ago, now hanging in our home.   But that was it.  

So, in a bid to get him back to work, we asked him if he would be interested in producing new art to adorn the rooms we regularly use at Hotel Fernandina, the family owned and operated establishment we’ve been using for our Active Galapagos trips for many years.    He was keen, and we commissioned seven new pieces of art last July.   The art was finished and hung on the walls of the seven rooms we use just last week.

Magno’s art is tinged with a bit of with magic realism – depicting Galapagos wildlife scenes, but with a rich palette of colours and producing scenes thick with texture and depth.   People are attracted to his art – and since we’ve hung it on the hotel walls, he’s already sold two pieces!    Our agreement is that a piece cannot be removed from the wall until he can replace it with another.  

If you’re keen on seeing his art, you’ll have to take yourself to the Hotel Fernandina in Puerto Ayora, and ask the people at the front desk to show you the rooms in which it is hung.   See below for samples of what he has recently produced.