Puerto Rican artist, writer, art theorist, and former political prisoner Elizam Escobar (1948) is presenting 35 years of creative work in his retrospective exhibition, “Instrospectiva simbólica,” which opens tomorrow at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art [Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, or MAPR].
As Ana Teresa Toro (El Nuevo Día) describes, the exhibition consists of 81 paintings—mostly large-format—and other pieces in mixed media “through which the viewer can go beyond the strictly chronological—or political— reading of his work, and delve into a humanity that is so alive that it is disturbing, sometimes for good, and others, one never knows.”
Although the artist spent 20 years of his life in prison—and for many, his name is synonymous with struggle—the artist rejects the figure of the martyr. He prefers, and assumes, the role of a conscious artist, reasoning, argumentative, and free, from the vantage point of a freedom that is only possible through the visual universe that, for decades, he has represented his artistic and literary production.
Escobar says, “Being 20 years in prison does not make you an artist, or a writer. Yes, it is an extreme experience, it takes you to the limit, and there have been major artists and writers that have emerged from that experience. But in my case, everything that happens to me ends up in a painting.”
[See brief video of the artist interviewed by Primera Hora at http://www.primerahora.com/estilos-de-vida/cultura/nota/elizamescobarrepasasutrayectoria-video-947761/]
For full articles (in Spanish), see http://www.elnuevodia.com/elarteesunarespuestaalamuerte-1577777.html and http://www.primerahora.com/estilos-de-vida/cultura/nota/elizamescobarrepasasutrayectoria-video-947761/