Curtis Talwst Santiago

This is not my first article (and I bet it won’t be the last) related to the Analix Gallery for My Big Geneva. The artists that are presented in this gallery have something in common: they are soulful. Curtis Talwst (pronounced tall waist as the family nickname described the long legs from one generation to the next) Santiago and his miniatures (exposed until mid February) are works of art from a committed artist, someone who will touch you deeply. Thanks to Barbara Polla, I was able to meet Curtis at the Café Remor.

History Box Office
His first exhibition in Europe were small dioramas, sets of stories, stirring up emotions through your eyes. You’ll have to stand close to the works of art (go closer, come on, don’t be so shy), as they are meant for a tête-à-tête. Face to face, confront what you see and what will be awaken in you. One of the artwork particularly appealed to me: it features police brutality with the American flag as a background (the victims are the Bull and Horse of Guernica in a car). Probably because it reminded me of Raoul Peck’s documentary on James Baldwin, “I’m not your Negro”, presented at the last International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) in Geneva.

“I make art for my own sanity, and so that the stories told are not forgotten or put aside.” Says Talwst whose creations are nested in tiny jewellery boxes. Those almost hidden gems speak of our own (in-) humanity: historical themes, submission of class, sex or race, refugees issues…

In his many lives, Curtis was previously a musician and a singer in a band… but six years ago, he dedicated himself to visual art only. It wasn’t easy at first as what he did was not recognised as art; he had a Big challenge to face. But his road was paved since his younger days, when Talwst discovered the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The strong connection felt at the time would later be confirmed on various occasions, like a path spangled with stars. Museums started to be interested in his work, nothing surprising there when you understand how the stories told sound right.He was asked to perform for the opening of an exhibition on Basquiat. Later on, he was invited for dinner and found himself sitting next to Suzanne Mallouk, ex-muse of the artist. Curtis showed her a piece called “Sad Boy”, she cried, explaining that it was depicting the exact way Jean-Michel was feeling. Four months before that, Talwst was in front of a painter’s piece asking for his advice and support… These moments or meetings with people close to Basquiat, where like evidences for Talwst whose paintings, at first impregnated with Basquiat’s style, found a style of their own.

Because many of us love to please Barbara, on her request, after all these years without singing in public, we were entitled to this moment suspended in time at café Remor: 

Photography © theNMH
History Box Office
Exhibition until mid February  
Galerie Analix Forever
Rue de Hesse 2, 1205 Geneva
Tue to Fri 2pm-7pm

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