Curtis Talwst Santiago: Can't I Alter is the first exhibition devoted to the Canadian-Trinidadian artist’s drawing practice, which has expanded significantly in recent years. Throughout his work, Santiago grapples with “genetic imagination,” or the ability to access generational knowledge through imaginative recollection and projection. For the artist, this method serves as a means of wading through histories lost, hidden, and often tangled. In Can’t I Alter, Santiago creates a multi-faceted narrative in an immersive, drawing-filled installation that explores the theme of ancestry and the necessity of preserving the past while acknowledging the fallacies implicit in historical recollection. As viewers explore the space, they join Santiago and his alter ego, the J’ouvert Knight, in an attempt to locate a diasporic ancestor whose existence cannot ever be fully grasped. A newly commissioned film accompanies the installation, as well as performances organized by Santiago.
Curtis Talwst Santiago (b. 1979, Edmonton, Alberta) studied as an apprentice of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Santiago has exhibited internationally at venues such as The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY; The New Museum, New York, NY; The Eli and Edythe Broad Museum at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; the Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Canada; The Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; and the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; among others. The artist was included in the SITE Santa Fe SITELines.2018 Biennial, Casa Tomada, in Santa Fe, NM and was featured in the 2018 Biennale de Dakar in Dakar, Senegal. His work is in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY.
Organized by Claire Gilman, Chief Curator, with Isabella Kapur, Curatorial Assistant.
Curtis Talwst Santiago: Can't I Alter is made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Generous support is provided by Rachel Uffner Gallery, William A. and Pamela K. Royall, Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, and the Consulate General of Canada in New York.
Additional support is provided by Cathy and Jonathan Miller; Barbara Polla; Carol Saper; Carla Shen and Christopher Schott; Isabel Stainow Wilcox; Anonymous; Cooper Cole, Toronto; Rashid Johnson and Sheree Hovsepian; Ruth Roberts; Liz Dimmitt and Piers Davies; Susan and Randolph Randolph; and Tiffany Hott.
Image: Curtis Talwst Santiago, Red Face Ancestral Vision 1, 2018. Spray paint, oil, charcoal, pastel, acrylic on canvas, 39 3/4 x 39 1/2 inches (101 x 100.3 cm). Courtesy of Rachel Uffner Gallery.