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Arts and Culture

Sager | Reeves -- Painting of the Month

Sager Reeves Gallery

Santiago Olazábal Indiferencia
Born in 1955 in Havana, Santiago Olazábal studied at the San Alejandro National Academy of Art, and held his first exhibit in 1983. Since then he has mounted 43 solo exhibits and has participated in more than 200 group and invitational exhibits in galleries, art centers, foundations, and museums in Cuba and throughout Europe, North America, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. His works grace notable public and private collections around the globe. Olazábal is a priest of the Ifa Orișas religion, a practice of Nigerian origin brought to Cuba with enslaved populations as early as the 16th century. The tenets of Ifa are at the heart of his life and his artwork. Each material, object, and composition in this work has roots in the meaning and practice of the artist’s spirituality.

Many of the scenarios and rituals depicted, at their core have to do with relationships - both between people and between people and the earth. Of this painting in particular, Santiago says, "People may live opposite lives without being opponents. Crosses behind the back and an extending red line, for the figure surrounded by these marks, represent protection, and yet the characters in this scene are oblivious to each other's reality. The line extending to the head of the person walking away represents his being blessed by the other figure." It becomes evident from this example that red marks, lines, and dots are all symbolic of the actions and interactions of those relating within a scene the artist creates. He thus manages to convey scenes that play out over time and with layers of emotion, despite these being static images.

Santiago Olazábal
Acrylic, thread, and gold leaf on canvas
9.75 x 9.75 inches