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Gregorio Ortega Coto

Gregorio Ortega Coto (he|him) was born in Morocco in 1946 to Spanish migrant parents. His family moved back to Spain when he was 12 years old.
After living in the Canary Islands and in the UK, he emigrated to Germany in 1972, to 
West Berlin, where he has lived ever since.
Gregorio Ortega Coto was forced into exile to seek a new life away from the social and political persecution of Franco’s dictatorship in Spain. 

He combined his creative oeuvre with studies in social work. In the past 20 years, he has written and published several novels and compilations of poems, and his artistic practice has always included paintings.


Almost all of my paintings reflect the social circumstances of their time, with motifs denouncing the atrocities of the Nazi regime against gays, the injustice experienced by the Berlin squatter scene of the eighties, the discrimination against foreigners or the ostracism of the LGBTI community, especially in times of AIDS. And so I deal with the hostilities that people with HIV suffered, also in painting. Some friends of mine died during that time. Campaigns of defamation, blind hatred, demonization, and rejection of gay life were very common. However, it took me a while to stand up to it with my painting. First, I created a large painting (110 x 160 cm): "Piedad", based on the Pietà by Michelangelo.

The picture was exhibited in the "Freie Berliner Kunstaustellung" at the end of the eighties. Years later, I painted over my "Piedad." The reason for it ... I do not know anymore. Maybe I was missing some sunflowers and a colorful wig ...


This is the new version that can be seen today in the exhibition. I donated the picture Sunflower Field to the Schwules Museum Berlin in 2019.

Gregorio Ortega Coto .jpg

Sunflower Field
acryl auf leinwand, 1992_ Courtesy Schwules Museum Berlin

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