Saturday, 17 July 2010

Cape Verdean all-around master

I used to know Cape Verde for the tender melodies of the
traditional morna and Cesária Évora whose concert made
me nuts back in '95 or from windsurfers friends stories.

I was totally unaware of Cape Verdean visual arts so you
can imagine my astonishment when I met Tchalê Figueira's
paintings exhibition yesterday.

He's an all-around artist: painter, poet, musician (on drums)
as well actor by and by; he left the archipelago at the age of 17,
worked as sailor and settled in Holland and Switzerland where
he attended a fine arts school.

Tchalê moved back to Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente,
a decade after Cape Verde gained its independence from
Portugal making his name with strong colored paintings
celebrating daily life, full of fishermen and quirky blue and
red fishes in a truly original style.

These last works are instead much more personal and
noteworthy where colors have been replaced by an intense
black & white with stark allegoric figures drawn in chalk-like
paintbrush strokes and d'après Bacon shapes, depicting
social and political themes.

Artworks which are opposed to the stereotyped folklore,
made with absolute freedom of mind and fully able to stir-up
the onlooker's brains and guts.

I'm a dream vendor Tchalê wrote on his facebook page
and be sure he is in his own peculiar way.

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