- The Washington Times - Friday, July 29, 2005

“Paradox & Coexistence II,” at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Cultural Center, features a spectrum of images ranging from poetic and lyrical to threatening and gut-wrenching.

Organized jointly by the IDB and the Bank of the Republic of Colombia around historian German Rubiano Caballero’s IDB-published book “Art of Latin America 1981-2000,” this adventurous survey complements an earlier IDB book and exhibit of Latin American art from 1900 to 1980.

Curators Felix Angel and Mr. Caballero have made a discriminating selection of 40 works reflecting a plurality of mediums and styles from 18 artists — both famous and lesser-known — of varying ages and nationalities. Among the artists represented here are woodcut artists Rimer Cardillo (Uruguay) and Raul Recio (Dominican Republic), oil painter Lorenzo Jaramillo (Colombia), and oil and acrylic artist Guillermo Kuitca (Argentina). Also included are photographs by Vik Munoz (Brazil) and a mixed-media-on-fabric work by Yves Telemak (Haiti).

The real eye-catchers here are large works by Puerto Rican painter Arnaldo Roche-Rabell, Guatemalan photographer Luis Gonzalez Palma and Cuban artist Alexis “KCHO” Leyva Machado. All work with political themes related to their respective countries.

In his huge self-portrait titled “We Have to Dream Blue,” Mr. Roche-Rabell addresses Puerto Rico’s smoldering racial tensions. He inserts blue eyes — his symbol of Caucasian, read American, power in the self-governing U.S. territory — into his own dark Creole face, intensifying the effect with whitish cross-hatchings.

Mr. Machado’s 7-foot-plus-tall “Untitled” charcoal drawing shows what looks like a cage made of twigs with a tire inside. The “cage” is meant to simulate the kinds of jerry-built craft on which Cubans desperate to flee their repressive homeland brave the high seas.

Mr. Palma comments on Guatemala’s political situation with “Ora Pronobis,” a large photo collage of the feet of peasants massacred by various Guatemalan governments. He zeroes in on their suffering with details of their scarred and dirt-caked feet.

An intense and emotional one-of-a-kind survey, “Paradox & Coexistence II” confirms Latin America’s participation in the reigning world art styles of the last decades of the 20th century while also spotlighting the pronounced individuality of certain artists.

WHAT: “Paradox & Coexistence II”

WHERE: Art Gallery, Cultural Center of the Inter-American Development Bank, 1300 New York Ave. NW

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Through Aug. 26.

TICKETS: Free

PHONE: 202/623-3774

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