FAUSTO HERRERA-DOMINGUEZ

HIS mother had dreams of the face of Jesus hovering over her bed. A transcendental Catholic, Doña Dominguez prayed incessantly and dragged young Fausto to the cathedral in Cordoba, making special devotions to the city¹s patron saint, Santo Acisclo, beheaded in the 4th century. The savagery of the Christian imagery intrigued and repelled him, particularly the martyrdom of Saints. Choirboy and devotee in his youth, Fausto found, upon the death of his maternal grandfather, that his family were Marranos, Jews who had converted (conversos) to Christianity to avoid expulsion and persecution. Following this thread he encountered a group of young people who were researching their past so that they might reclaim their lost Jewish heritage (reconversos). It was in this group that Fausto met Agata Esperanza Castro-Vargas. Her family were Moriscos, Muslims who had long ago converted to Christianity. The couple used the terms, Morisco and Marrano, as pet names as their romance bloomed. Together they often visited the Great Mosque of Cordoba, as a mosque, (it is also the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Cordoba, the same one Fausto visited as a child) and the 14th century Cordoba Synagogue. When they decided to wed Agata chose Judaism. On Thursday 11 March 2004, after spending a week with friends in Alcala de Henarés, Agata took a morning commuter train bound for the Atocha station in Madrid. It was there she would have changed to a train for Cordoba but on this morning Muslim extremists exploded several bombs in and around the station killing nearly 200 and injuring more than 2000. That Agata had died a Jew is an irony not lost on Fausto. They had planned their marriage for early April, a traditional Jewish ceremony. His black suit he instead wore to her closed casket funeral. He now sees her face in his dreams. Fausto still lives in Cordoba where he is graphic designer. He attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Gustave Moreau and other symbolists, decorative arts, especially Wedgwood, and the Lives of the Saints, have influenced his work. He met Daisy Hascott while she was on holiday in Spain. They attempted a brief romance but Fausto has no romance left in him.