Gustavo Sanchez Lopez
Gustavo Sánchez López, a performance artist based with the theater group Tironeta in San Carlos, Colombia, was awarded a grant to develop their play Doña Zary: An Unknown Heroine. Doña Zary celebrates the opossum (zary) and its role in the ecosystem, and in Colombia in particular, where the opossum is often ignored, misunderstood, or killed as a pest. Highlighting the essential need for biodiversity at a local, national, regional, and global level, Doña Zary will tour fifteen schools and villages around San Carlos, delighting, entertaining, and informing children and their families and teachers, and creating a paradigm shift in regard to the treatment of opossums and other wild animals. Scenes from Teatro Tironeta’s work can be seen in the gallery below. Gustavo lives in San Carlos, Colombia.
Gustavo’s commitment to changing the perception of an unliked species is shared by 2023 grantee Namita Kandel in Nepal, whose play about vultures highlights the importance of scavenger birds within her country’s ecosystem.
In addition, his use of puppets to engage children and families in caring for opossums is similar to Benjamin Hunt’s shadow-puppet show. Benjamin’s adaptation of Richard Adams’s book, The Plague Dogs, aims to increase children’s awareness of animal suffering and promote their active rejection of cruel practices in England. Gustavo continues to showcase his support for opossums through his work with Teatro Tironeta. Please check them out on Instagram @tironeta.