Curtis Santiago

Constructing Return

September 13 - December 15, 2017

 College Art Galleries 

Curated by Magdalyn Asimakis
Coordinating curator, Leah Taylor

Opening Reception: Friday, September 15, 7:30 Pm

Exhibition essay by Magdalyn Asimakis

Some argue that to understand our present we must read deeply into our past. This may at times be merely a rhetorical gesture, while at other times a pedagogical volition. Stuart Hall wrote that there can be no simple return to the ancestral past without the acknowledgement of one’s presentness and the technologies and identities we utilize. How does one access the past through the present, and to what end? 

These are questions that run through the work of Curtis Santiago. Through drawing, painting, sculpture and video, Santiago instinctively moves between places and media to access his past in order to understand what Hall refers to as the ‘diasporic experience.’ This survey presents bodies of work developed in Canada, the United States, Trinidad, and South Africa that unpack the ways we look at and structure the past as a way of understanding the present. 

Santiago’s oeuvre negotiates history, genealogy, spirituality and imagination, and mobilizes traditional and new media to question and collapse temporal and spatial distance. In doing so, he locates the diasporic condition in unfixed space, negating colonial rationale.

About the Artist

Curtis Santiago is a Canadian artist working in mixed media and performance practices. He is a former apprentice of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and has attended Emily Carr Fine Arts and the New York Studio School. Santiago has recently completed artist residencies at Pioneer Works in New York and Gallery Momo in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since 2014, Santiago has exhibited in solo and group shows in North America, Europe, China and South Africa. He has been included in recent museum exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Studio Museum in Harlem, Perez Museum, Museum of Capitalism, Hunter College and the Savannah College of Art and Design. This year he will be included in the exhibition Triggered at the New Museum in New York and the SITElines Biennial in Santa Fe.