Through Surreal Paintings, Diego De La Rosa Imagines an Uncertain But Resilient Future for Venezuela

a black cat with a baby's breath crown and red bead necklace sits on cinder blocks with a dying plant growing from it

“Cat” (2022), oil on panel, 10 x 8 inches. All images courtesy of Povos, shared with permission

Coated in vivid washes of lavender, chartreuse, and indigo, the paintings of Diego De La Rosa remind us of the myriad forces that color our perceptions of reality.

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The Toronto-based artist draws on the compounding political crises in his native Venezuela, retracing the tragic shortages of food and medicine, years-long recession, and violent protests that have characterized life for more than a decade. In his first solo in the U.S., De La Rosa re-interprets these tragedies through allegorical works replete with monsters and uncanny happenings.

The Night You Love Me features 14 paintings that reflect Venezuelans’ struggles and deferred dreams. Opening this week at Povos in Chicago, the exhibition is particularly timely given the massive influx of refugees from the country in recent years and as Venezuelans prepare to go to the polls later this month.

Common folkloric symbols appear in the works, including a foreboding figure who looms in the background of “Onwards” while two young boys ride a horse. Known as El Silbón, or The Whistler, the character is thought to be a lost soul and his song a harbinger of death.

Despite the ominous feelings of De La Rosa’s works, strength and resilience pulse through the narratives, and in paintings like “Miracle Jaguar,” there seems to be hope for a more prosperous future. Cheekily smoking a cigar, the large cat wears jewels and appears to step forward near a basket of cassava and bread flour, while fire and destruction rage in the distance behind him.

The Night You Love Me runs from July 12 to August 31. Find more from De La Rosa on his website and Instagram.


a green-yellow washed painting of two young boys on a white horse with a man in a cowboy hat standing at the horses head

“Onwards” (2023), oil and acrylic on panel, 11 x 14 inches

a black dog with red and gold collar sits by a spilling bag of grains and pile of fruit with two children carrying a sack in the distance

“Dog” (2022), oil on panel, 10 x 8 inches

a light purple washed painting of a fight with a woman in cargo pants and headscarf holding a massive spear and pointing to the distance. reptiles appear to be attacking dogs while humans attack each other

“Turn Back” (2024), oil and acrylic on canvas, 30 x 36 inches

a man in a t-shirt and rolled up pants stands with a paper in his hand and the other on a jaguar who is smoking a cigar and adorned with jewelry. a basket of bread sits on the ground while fire rages in the background

“Miracle Jaguar” (2024), oil and acrylic on panel, 10 x 8 inches

a child holds a sword over his shoulder with a dog standing next to him. fire surrounds the scene

“The Liberator” (2023), oil and acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Through Surreal Paintings, Diego De La Rosa Imagines an Uncertain But Resilient Future for Venezuela appeared first on Colossal.


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