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From Colombia to Argentina: The Palette of South America
November 21, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm£30
A night of art, music, and food. Experience the mestizo art of Carlos Zapata in his Baldwin Gallery solo exhibition in conjunction with Buenos Aires-born vocalist and guitarist Guillermo Rozenthuler. Accompanying South American themed food curated and provided by Brazilian Daniela Paiva, founder of Cooknst, who delights in creating multisensory cultural events. (Tickets)
“A crowd of collectors, curators and literati enjoying a private-view dinner in honour of one of our artists. (We love to serve food, whether at private views or music salons, and we always collaborate with the fabulous Cooknst, to prepare dinner for our guests.)” – Dennison Smith, OpenHouse Magazine
The Baldwin Gallery presents a new exhibition of the mestizo art of Colombian artist, Carlos Zapata, which engages equally the riches and horrors of history to express a plural unity. In a polarised time, when everyone is arguing about identity, we have overlooked the inclusive, flexible tradition of mestizo Latin America, which fuses colonial, indigenous and slave cultures to transcend national and historical boundaries.
Folk and tribal art meet Christian iconography and merge spiritual and political realities. Fetish and icon become interchangeable. War is paired with the intimate and supernatural. The rough burlap jacket of Zapata’s sculpture Shaman Protector drips with protective talismans that remember the brutal era of Colombian kidnappings. But death is understood environmentally, as the first ingredient of life: beside a wooden carving of a pale blue corpse, a tree sprouts green leaves, and Saint Rabbit’s human breasts and pregnant belly glisten with silver leaf. Carnivalesque, rough-hewn and deceptively simple, even toy-like, the art of Carlos Zapata is at once celebratory and unflinching.
Artist Carlos Zapata
Growing up in Colombia during a violent civil war, and raising his own son in bucolic Cornwall, England, Carlos Zapata creates intimate and emotive sculpture, which, while belonging to the tradition of Folk and Tribal Arts, has evolved from personal experience. His Automata are deceptively simple, elegant machines, infused with joy and playfulness, and their lightheartedness allows us to confront honestly the dark side of their subjects. In Diamonds Are Forever, on the upper story of a human-headed ‘house’, a woman receives a diamond from her suitor; meanwhile, down at the base, the exploited labourer chips relentlessly at a stone. Among Zapata’s still series, Child Soldiers holds his memories of war and its terrible exploitation of children, and Iconos: Sagrado Y Profano explores the graft behind the religious icons of his youth.
Recipient of The Threadneedle Art Prize, Carlos’ work is held in public and private collections around the world, a small sampling of which include London’s Natural History Museum, The Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco, The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, The Arima Museum and The Gumma Museum in Japan, and the Museo Parque De Las Ciencias in Granada, Spain.
“Most importantly, we’re introducing indigenous North American artists to the London art world. These are exceptional contemporary artists working on the edge between traditions, many of whom come from cultures where there isn’t a word for art, where art is so central that no one chose to name it. In such cultures, you can truly say, ‘Art is home.’” – Dennison Smith, OpenHouse Magazine
Worthy of Belief: The Mestizo Art of Carlos Zapata, 20 Oct – 20 Nov 2018, brings a couple of dozen works of Zapata to a London audience. They creatively blend native naïveté and a critical thought collaboration of indigenous belief and colonial religion on subjects that are common to all humanity – birth, death, loss, and liberation.
“…to curate is to care for that we value most about being human, whether that is art, literature, music, community, social justice, or food.” – Dennison Smith, OpenHouse Magazine