Martina Simeti is pleased to present “A man not in the mood for salsa”, Curtis Talwst Santiago’s second exhibition with the gallery.
“All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites”. [Marc Chagall]
In this show, the artist proposes a new collection of drawings and paintings, complemented by a series of dioramas and objects. Memory, ancestry, and diasporic imagination are intertwined in a joyful and playful manner. Central to Santiago’s oeuvre is the idea of entanglements shaping the consciousness of the postcolonial condition. Singer and musician he reconnects with music as part of an identity that is transmitted from one generation to the next.
Fragments of childhood memories, feelings of yesterday yearning to be felt again, black & white masks strolling the streets of African metropolises (Parktown @2pm, driving with the windows down), dancing halls, jazz clubs (Afro-Sonic Mapping), haloed daemons, carnival traditional figures (Jab Jab, Midnight Robber, Dame Lorraine displayed in the diorama Queens Park Fete), are the recurring themes in these works.
Some reveal violence, past and present, inherent to the struggle of the diaspora. The diorama How Will Survive in America sheds light on the horrendous prison industrial complex. A car on fire in the drawing The immolation of Darren Seals, also an homage to Basquiat, reminds us of the brutality of the daily violence experienced and interiorized by black people in the Americas. Doubles, couples with no gender, twins, angels, or devils allowing our emotion to spring.
Santiago travels across the Atlantic Ocean. In the lower room, Caribbean dolls, and a group of objects from west Africa, offer a nest for the artist’s nose casted in glass, a place to look for himself in a mirror.
Nothing is left aside. And no one is cast off because the artist is involved in mankind in each piece of work. Santiago shapes arenas and ideas both minuscule and colossal. And once again, as in Olokun, he makes the invisible visible.