From 9 June to 24 July 2021, Martina Simeti presents Seeing Angels, the first solo show in Italy of the work of Curtis Talwst Santiago, Canadian artist (Edmonton, Alberta, 1979) with origins in Trinidad.
In the exhibition project designed for the Galleria Martina Simeti, Curtis Talwst Santiago proposes a new chapter of his ‘Infinity Series’. In this project, begun in 2008, the artist creates complex miniatures inside cases supposed to house jewellery and in which dioramas on various themes following on from one another are embedded. The settings and scenes in the past have narrated issues linked to the diaspora, to ‘black’ identity, to unrest and revolt, and it is here that the focus is most sharply on personal aspects, on a degree of intimacy and erotic fantasies. A storytelling approach emerges which draws on a tradition of Afro-Caribbean tales, as notices the writer Abdourahman Waberi in his text accompanying the exhibition.
The eight sculptures presented in Milan, like little oneiric theatres crossing through time, share a familiar and private nature. Against the light, we may make out the theme of ancestors and the need to maintain a link with a diasporic past, recently the subject of a solo show held by Santiago at the Drawing Center in New York. A number of works are inspired by Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson, singing “like a clown I pretend to be glad” in memory of the artist’s New York years; others evoke fantastical chimeras in sexual encounters or in labour and the birth of a new life, with a gaze turned to the angels of the future. Four small canvases made of leftover material from the miniatures complete the installation.