Roberta Marrero, total artist and trans icon, dies at 52: “I love you all”

Illustrator, poet, writer, singer, DJ, actress, activist of the LGTBI+ community… Roberta Marrero It was all that and it was much more. He never settled for one-dimensionality or settled into orthodoxy, but dedicated his life precisely to expanding the possibilities of the human being and the total artist. Her biography and, with it, her work, were a universe in permanent expansion.

Roberta Marrero died last Friday at the age of 52. Ins Plasenciafriend and author of the epilogue of her latest book – the collection of poems Right to appointment (Ed. Continta you have me) – reported the cause of death through his Instagram profile.

“Without words but with the need to tell you, from our maximum respect and love, and above all from our pain, that today, May 17, 2024, Roberta Marrero has decided to leave“, wrote Plasencia. “Pedro Lemebel said: “I don’t have friends, I have loves”, Roberta Marrero has written: “I love you all” [Os quiero a todos]. Here they are sadder and more boring, but in the limbo of poets a new super star is already shining. “All the light in the world.”

Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on March 2, 1972, Marrero was the youngest of three siblings. “I was not born a man or a woman, I was born a baby. I need time to know who I am…”, wrote the artist herself, who turned a terrifying episode – she swallowed intrauterine fluid at birth – into creative therapy – public The green baby. Childhood, transsexuality and pop heroes (Lunwerg, 2016).

Her early childhood was happy: she quickly learned to read and write and dedicated herself to drawing superheroes. Then came the change of school and the difficult coexistence with older students. I suffered humiliation and insults. Even her mother ended up calling him “faggot!” on one occasion.

“The dictations and readings from parents to children suggest to me childhood, which was the most horrible time of my life; no, thanks. The masses, on the other hand, suggest beauty to me, even though I don’t believe in any god.. The Catholic liturgy (which I know because I was raised Catholic) is beautiful because of the staging…”, he responded by email just a few weeks ago to The reading regarding his participation in a collective reading with McKenzie Wark at La Casa Encendida. “I am old, I live alone and the truth is that I prefer to continue reading alone than in company.“, he confessed.

In The green baby reflected his love for the gothic-sinister imagery: cemeteries, vampires, Jiménez del Oso, Oscar Wilde, Joy Division… Perhaps a reflection of his relationship with his aunt Nina, a gravedigger.

In his biography he confessed that pop saved his life the day that, at the age of 11, he saw Boy George on Spanish television in 1983: “It was a revelation, a mystical experience; there were men who put on makeup and dressed in a feminine way.”

In his adolescence he was immersed in the music and aesthetics of the rebels of pop, punk and the New Romantics: David Bowie, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Andy Warhol, Annie Lennox

Already then she began to reflect on issues about the tyranny of heterosexual romantic love, patriarchy, homophobia, responsible parenthood or the life expectancy of trans women.

Also in The green baby I recognized how she lost her innocence as a child when she entered contact with death. In the book I told the story of Susi, a transsexual woman who commits suicide and is buried with the identity of a man after not being accepted as a woman by his family, society or the church at the funeral.

His first illustrated book was titled Dictators (Ediciones Hidroavin, 2015), on the cover of which Franco appears with a Hello Kitty bow on his head. Marrero enjoyed popularity thanks to his incredible collages, in which he mixed pop art, religious figures, Hollywood stars or details from his own biography. Her account on his Instagram is a veritable gallery of denunciation and ecstasy. Little birds pierced by arrows coexist with the bloody hearts of Lorca and Rimbaud.

The artist, who has lived in Madrid for years, was also well known in the 2000s as an electroclash DJ. He could have seen it in the drama Defrost! (2003), by Dunia Ayaso and Flix Sabroso, and published a couple of solo albums.

His first collection of poems was titled It was all because it was fire. Poems of pimps, trans and transvestites (Continued you have me, 2022). Two weeks ago she read some poems at the Reina Sofia Museum “with the greatest one” (Roco Jurado) as a background image. Cultured, ironic and brilliant, Roberta Marrero had become a essential figure to understand transsexual culture. The same one that today mourns her early loss.


 
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