A report by Megy Karydes for Forbes.
This week, the Facundo Rum Collection launched an exclusive collaboration of 10 one-of-a-kind luxury bar trays by Cuban artist Damian Aquiles . This launch is Aquiles’ first art exhibition in New York since 2004.
Each of the bar trays is a piece of art that was designed to celebrate the exciting and diverse world of Latin American art and culture that is inherent to Facundo Rum’s origin. Using salvaged and repurposed Cuban-sourced sheet metal as his raw material, Aquiles added his artistic work using paint, then doused the trays with gasoline and fired them up. Each is an original.
Aquiles’ work ranges from painting to installation to metalwork. He’s known for carefully selecting and utilizing found materials such as discarded paint cans and scrap metals from his native Cuba and transforming them into stunning sculptures. He chooses to work with used materials for the concentrated energy he feels emanates from them. By recycling these materials, he uses their previous life, energy, and history to tell his own story. Beth Rudin de Woody, Paul & Nancy Pelosi, and Rita Schrager are among those who collect Aquiles’ artwork.
He and his American wife Pamela Ruiz, who moved to Cuba more than two decades ago after a scouting trip ended with her falling in love with the country and Aquiles, relied on recycled building materials and their keen artist eyes to rehab their home. It has since become its own work of art, featured in a number of design publications and the New York Times, and a place where they’ve hosted celebrities including Katy Perry, Will and Jada Smith, and Rufus Wainwright.
To create his Facundo bar tray pieces, Aquiles says he had to choose from hundreds of raw materials. “It takes years of practice and vision to decide which elements have the potential to contribute to a final art piece,” he says. “The materials look totally different at the beginning of the process than at the end, but I know in my mind how they can contribute to the overall work of art from the start. I can imagine a Maestro de Ron, in a similar way, has to choose amongst hundreds of rums, some aged and very complex, and decide which ones will best contribute to create an exceptional blend – that also takes expertise and vision.”
Select Facundo bar trays will be displayed at Aquiles’ “Alquimista” exhibition at the Highline Gallery in Manhattan starting today through next Saturday, April 7. The exhibition is curated by Natalie Kates Projects.