‘Soldier Boy’ by Diego de la Rosa
Artist: Diego de la Rosa
Title: ‘Soldier Boy’
Medium: Oil on panel
Dimensions: 7″ x 5″
Year of Creation: 2023
About the Artwork:
“SOLDIER BOY is part of a collection titled ‘Everything Will Be Well’, a series of oil paintings that explores the search for hope and meaning that the citizens of Venezuela endure after the failure to restore their country’s prosperity.
The piece takes the classic representation of martyrs and mythical heroes in painting to explore the cultural narrative about the protesters who rose against the crimes of the Venezuelan government. It portrays the central character through a combination of vulnerability and strength: a slender boy with not much clothing carrying a sword inspired by the one used by Simon Bolivar, the leader of country’s independence movement.
The attire, similar to the one worn by most protesters, allude to humble yet defiant nature of the character, while the weapon is a symbol of the historic challenge that this individual is taking.
The painting also presents an unusual addition to the image of martyrs: a spider, standing on the kid’s shoulder. It’s presence differs from the usual inclusion of animal that symbolize hope and faith. Instead, the spider is meant to create an ominous feeling that alludes to the tragedy of the Venezuelan protesters who loss their freedom and life for a cause that was eventually abandoned, both by the political class and by the rest of the population.” – Diego de la Rosa
About the Artist:
Diego de la Rosa is a Venezuelan artist that is currently living and working in Toronto. His work explores the cultural impact of the social crisis in his native country, and relies on symbolism to explore the ideas and sentiments born from this reality. His process involves the collection of found imagery of people and places from Venezuela that are then rearranged into painted narratives full of imaginative elements, such as giants, theatrical atmosphere, and fantastical characters.
The source imagery represents the perceived reality, while the painting tactics embody the values and ideas that are employed to create a reading for these circumstances. The use of allegory in his paintings provides an artistic translation of social concepts similar to the interpretative approach of an anthropological study. He uses these painted scenarios to illustrate both the cultural notions surrounding the crisis, and critical theories on frustration, resilience, spatial inhibition and the desire for power, which he employs to analyze the subject at hand.
Through his work, De la Rosa creates images that universalize issues of oppression, crime and social struggle, evoking empathy in societies so distant from his own.