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It Starts with the Box
CURTIS TALWST SANTIAGO: Hello my name is Curtis Talwst Santiago. I’m a Canadian Trinidadian artist that was raised in Edmonton Alberta. Jewelry boxes for me are very significant. And I love the fact that it’s portable and it was given as an act, a gesture, of love, respect, admiration, apology. So many connotations to jewelry boxes.
Normally I hand the box to someone and they open it up and they explore and discover the story for themselves. .It’s meant to be held eye level and then you begin to discover what exactly this story is telling. From really looking at that and the problematic nature of how cultures are often portrayed, Now that I am displaying them in museums, I take that into consideration: for something like, how dioramas played out in natural history museums.
I also make music, and what you’re listening to is a composition of mine.
Execution of Unarmed Blacks
CURTIS TALWST SANTIAGO: The box, “Execution of Unarmed Blacks”: you’re met with a scene that might feel familiar. And that scene is taken from two other great paintings in art history. One being “The Execution of Maximilian” by Manet, and then Goya’s execution painting, I believe called “The Third of May.” On the paintings we have a man who’s been shot laying on the foreground. This brings me to a contemporary event. When you now zoom out and look at the landscape, you notice that it’s an urban environment. It’s Ferguson, Missouri. It’s the street that Michael Brown was executed on. When I saw the image of him on display like that in the news, it brought to mind these two great paintings because the characters that had been shot looked very similar. In the Goya painting the blood is flowing in a very similar direction and the compositions were eerily similar.