A pair of new exhibits, “Gabriel Sanchez: Mirando al Mundo (Looking at the World),” and “Evita Tezeno: Better Days,” will be on display at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles starting Saturday, March 6, through Saturday, April 17.
Sanchez in 2019 – 60 years after his grandfather fled Havana – became the first in his family to return to Cuba. Like many first-generation Cuban-Americans, he grew up understanding Cuba more as a mythical and fabled paradise, fleshed out with familial anecdotes and old photographs. Painted over the last two and a half years during extended visits to Cuba, Sanchez has created a deeply empathetic body of work that captures the spirit of an emerging avant-garde living and working in Cuba.
Artists, writers, photographers, dancers and opera singers – a sub-culture of young, bold and restless Cubans who represent the future of the island’s art scene, and to a large degree the dreams of many, untethered from the moribund Cuba of the past and the suspended reality of the present. Vulnerable yet proud to be who they are in the face of an oppressive system, they stand naked and exposed for the world to see – a symbol of honesty and simplicity – their lives captured by Sanchez with inquisitiveness and sensitivity. Painting is praise, and with this exhibition Sanchez honors his compatriots, joining their ranks as a Cuban artist and native son.
Employing richly patterned hand-painted papers and found objects in a contemporary folk-art style, Tezeno’s colorful collage paintings on canvas and rag board depict a cast of characters in harmonious everyday scenes. Inspired by her family and friends, childhood memories in South Texas, personal dreams and moments from her adult life – and influenced by the great 20th century modernists Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett and William H. Johnson – scenes of joy animate her vision of a Black America filled with humanity.
The gallery will hold an opening reception from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Visitors are encouraged to make an appointment at luisdejesus.com/contact.
For information, visit luisdejesus.com.
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