Saturday, November 24, 2012

La Reconquista: from Church to Corporations

Hello Everyone! Hope you are all doing well as you read these lines. I wanted to share with you, one of my latest works which I intend to present at Red Dot Miami. I am currently working on a project titled "Devocionales: Neo-Colonial Retablos from an archetypal perspective". This has taken most of my time these days and they are looking good. But I shall not reveal any more images from this project, at least not for the moment. Instead, I wish to share on this blog some other works that I have been working on and that perfectly fit into the same themes that have informed all of my work.  I also consider it best to keep the next blogs as short as possible but with more images of the work and the process. Please feel free to comment on this or any other issue you would like to read about. I am more than open to your suggestions.

La Reconquista (2012) Oil on wood triptych 18" x 24" by Patrick McGrath Muñiz
Available at Jane Sauer Gallery

One of my most recent retablo painitings is titled La Reconquista. It was painted with oils on a wood triptych I designed and had carved in Antigua, Guatemala. The fact that it is painted on this format reinforces the message. As in most of my work, the idea is to bring to mind the Spanish colonial art and iconography as we encounter a Neo-Colonial narrative. Neo-Colonialism can be defined as a new form of colonization which is done by socio-economic and cultural means. Even though my main interest lies with the Americas (from Canada to Tierra del Fuego) we can see numerous cases of Neo-Colonialism all around the globalized world. Big banks and transnational corporations are now the new conquistadors who project themselves as the new saints and saviours of the "free world".

Detail of La Reconquista (2012) Oil on wood triptych 18" x 24" by Patrick McGrath Muñiz

On La Reconquista the image of Santiago Matamoros (Saint James the Moor-Slayer) acquires new meaning as he is confronted with new adversaries. Traditionally this saint was depicted killing moors and indigenous peoples. The image of Saint James was one of the first to be brought to the Americas in order to subdue and convert the native population to the will of the conquistadors. To this day he is recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church and is Spain’s patron saint.

Detail of La Reconquista (2012) Oil on wood triptych 18" x 24" by Patrick McGrath Muñiz

On this triptych he carries a banner in defense of powerful corporations and is accompanied by Saint “King” and Saint “Ronald”. The enemies in this occasion are all of those who oppose the “Free Market” policies of the Corporatocracy. The upper escutcheon crowning this piece contains the logos of the World Bank, The International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization, three powerful financial institutions that control and determine the rules of the current Global economy. The inscription below reads: “Santiago Apostol, defensor de la Conquista, Protege nuestras corporaciones de indigenistas, comunistas, ecologistas y terroristas” (Saint James the Apostle, defender of the Conquest, Protect our corporations of Pro-Indigenous, Communists, Ecologists and Terrorists).  By presenting these new and old saints together in a triptych painting that recalls Latin American Colonial Iconography I am able to respond to our current Neo-Colonial paradigm.
 Side wing of La Reconquista depicting Saint Ronald with fat child holding holy milkshake and burger

Side wing of La Reconquista depicting Saint King holding a banner that reads : "Always, low prices".
This retablo painting as well as other works will be on display at Jane Sauer Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jane Sauer will be presenting these works and the work of other artists at Red Dot Miami Art Fair Dec 4-9, 2012. I plan to be present from the 7th to the 9th to share and talk about my work. Hope you can be there and Happy Holidays to you all!