Friday, 1 June 2012

"Child Soldiers" exhibition at the Millennium Gallery

I am having an exhibition of 16 works, Call 'Child Soldiers' In the millennium Gallery. In St. Ives UK This is the introduction from Joseph Clarke the director; Carlos Zapata’s latest series of intimate and emotive sculptures and automata have at their core the humanitarian often violent struggle of the innocent, often children, who are drawn in to the maelstrom of war. Zapata was born in conflict torn Colombia in 1963, so the themes within this exhibition have generated from a profound awareness from a young age, where children were both forcibly and voluntarily recruited and used by armed opposition groups. Elaborating on experiences from his own personal life, Zapata delves into the human stories behind war from both ends of the spectrum - how people deal with, and deal out, violence. What people are capable of when comfronted by extreme circumstances - bravery and cowardliness alike. Put simply Zapata says “death and survival comes on a daily basis for some people” Zapata has been based near Falmouth for the past 20 years, but continues to make art that has a political or social commentary. He is a self taught artist, who has been producing kinetic or mechanical sculptures known as Automata since the late 1990’s – the playful element of automata creates a paradox within the work. The act of play that they inspire creates a shocking and emotional contrast to the subject depicted. He prefers to carve in wood, which is then painted with acrylic and oil, often distressing the surface, sanding and painting again, many times until it looks like skin or a textile. The metal work, is often reclaimed or scrap – the works have been influenced hugely over the years by Folk and Tribal Arts from all over the world – including his home country.