Seen through the eyes of Francisco “Gordillo” Arredondo, an internationally acclaimed artist and a priest initiated into the Afrocuban religion of Santería, these paintings present a personal vision blending his Congo and Yoruba inheritance with his contemporary Cuban experience. His paintings embody a mythology that simultaneously celebrates Cuba’s rich African spiritual legacy while divulging the island’s subterranean mysticism.
Inspired by folkloric legends of the orishas, Gordillo portrays divinities as intermediaries between an earthly presence and spiritual transcendence. Popular orishas like Shango and Echu are portrayed and their significance is explained by text panels. Gordillo’s stylistic interpretation, a powerful blending of expressionism and surrealism, reinforces the mystical, visionary and healing elements inherent in Santería and the cult of the orishas.
With his imagery rooted in Santería, Gordillo seeks balance and harmony between humans and their environment, his paintings expressions of totemic power, icons to avert danger along the path to self-awareness. The “paths taken” of the title refers both to the spiritual paths of the artist and the new paths of knowledge the audience traverses through his imagery.
Born in 1964, Gordillo graduated from Havana’s famous San Alejandro Art Academy in 1988. Since then, his work has been included in numerous group and individual exhibitions in Latin America, Europe and Canada. This exhibition — his first North American solo show — includes over fifty paintings and mixed media works from his twenty-five year career. In addition to introducing audiences to the strong African presence in Cuban culture and the popular religion of Santería, Paths Taken also opens new doors of understanding between the United States and Cuba.
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Categories: Traveling Exhibitions