"Great band, but wow -- an even better back drop. Who made that?!" ...overheard at a New Year's Eve gathering in Havana...
Introducing Damian Aquiles who lives and works in Cuba.
In a country with very limited access to goods and materials most of us take for granted, Aquiles is making beautiful use of what IS there... what is cast off and what is available.
(Need a plastic bag to carry your groceries home? One'll cost you more than the pound of tomatoes you've just purchased; if a button falls off your shirt, where can you get a needle and thread? If a guitar string breaks? Forget about it --can't buy them here. Art supplies? Are you kidding?) But what is plentiful? The metal from cars and machines and containers no longer in use.
These walking figures are individually hand cut from metal salvaged from Russian, American, Chinese and Hungarian cars and Cuban water tanks. Each installation is a "found-palette" of stunning colors and patinas.
More and more plastic is being used for shipping containers and drums, but in Cuba, there is still plentiful use and supply of metal. Aquiles creates individual compositions of this metal wrapped over wood panels.
He also creates larger compositions of metal-wrapped panels, such as these below.
In the artist's words, "I like to work with used materials, for the concentrated energy that
emanates from them, they have a lot of light. My art pieces concentrate on that energy. I continue it's life by recycling it, by using it's previous life, energy, and history to tell my own story."
Apparently the US embargo does not extend to the purchase of works of art. A few of the pieces here are currently in Cuba, and can be shipped to the US. Work is also available through the Jonathon Ferrar Gallery in New Orleans. Please direct any inquiries to the artist via email.
Know any artists whose work would make a home a lovelier place? Send ideas to The Gallery. Thanks!