Riding Souls alight at Omba Gallery
The critically acclaimed ‘Riding Souls’ or ‘Cabalgando Almas’ in Spanish, was first exhibited in Havana, Cuba. Soon after Pérez arrived in Namibia in January this year, it was decided to bring the exhibition to Windhoek also.
Using oil and acrylic with fine and large, emotional brushstrokes, Pérez depicts various breeds of horses moving restlessly across large canvases. Looking at the paintings, one can almost hear the horses snorting impatiently through flared nostrils and faintly, the dull pounding of their hooves on the earth. He seeks perfection and Pérez found it entirely in the temperament and physical nature of the horse. The Spanish word for ‘soul’ is ‘alma’ and there on his canvases spirited equestrian phantoms gallop and storm seemingly from nowhere but actually from the very bowels of Latin American spirituality and nostalgia. Pérez said that once upon a time, before the advent and interference of technology, man and horse were one. In this relationship, the horse, a beautiful, majestic creature on its own, became the perfect metaphor for the yearnings of the human heart and has come to symbolise for him the essence of the soul (both man and beast) – the unselfconscious beauty as manifested by horses and the awe they inspire with their graceful movements. For Pérez, a wild horse running without restraint is akin to the attainment of the highest form of freedom.
Artist Yasiel Palomino Pérez hails from the town and province of Las Tunas in the Colonia Blanca area of Cuba.
Pérez attended La Academia de Artes de la Provincia Las Tunas and graduated in 2006. He spent the next three years lecturing at his alma mater and dedicated his leisure time to producing his own artworks. It takes him on average between two days to a week to complete a painting and he doesn’t use any visual aids to draw his horses, preferring instead to draw on his immense vault of memories. His first solo exhibition, the first ‘Riding Souls’, took place in Havana in 2014, followed by group exhibitions in Russia and Germany.
Artist: Yasiel Palomino Pérez from Cuba
Venue: Omba Gallery at the Old Breweries in the Central Business District
Opened this week and runs until 05 May.