Through Surreal Paintings, Diego De La Rosa Imagines an Uncertain But Resilient Future for Venezuela

“Cat” (2022), oil on panel, 10 x 8 inches. All images courtesy of Povos, shared with permission

Coated in vivid washes of lavender, chartreuse, and indigo, the paintings of Diego De La Rosa remind us of the myriad forces that color our perceptions of reality.

The Toronto-based artist draws on the compounding political crises in his native Venezuela, retracing the tragic shortages of food and medicine, years-long recession, and violent protests that have characterized life for more than a decade. In his first solo in the U.S., De La Rosa re-interprets these tragedies through allegorical works replete with monsters and uncanny happenings.

The Night You Love Me features 14 paintings that reflect Venezuelans’ struggles and deferred dreams. Opening this week at Povos in Chicago, the exhibition is particularly timely given the massive influx of refugees from the country in recent years and as Venezuelans prepare to go to the polls later this month.

Common folkloric symbols appear in the works, including a foreboding figure who looms in the background of “Onwards” while two young boys ride a horse. Known as El Silbón, or The Whistler, the character is thought to be a lost soul and his song a harbinger of death.

Despite the ominous feelings of De La Rosa’s works, strength and resilience pulse through the narratives, and in paintings like “Miracle Jaguar,” there seems to be hope for a more prosperous future. Cheekily smoking a cigar, the large cat wears jewels and appears to step forward near a basket of cassava and bread flour, while fire and destruction rage in the distance behind him.

The Night You Love Me runs from July 12 to August 31. Find more from De La Rosa on his website and Instagram.

“Onwards” (2023), oil and acrylic on panel, 11 x 14 inches

“Dog” (2022), oil on panel, 10 x 8 inches

“Turn Back” (2024), oil and acrylic on canvas, 30 x 36 inches

“Miracle Jaguar” (2024), oil and acrylic on panel, 10 x 8 inches

“The Liberator” (2023), oil and acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches

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Source: Art -


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