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This work includes a variety of traditional Mas figures whose stories provide a vital link to Trinidad’s heritage. The highly-spirited characters are evoked through costumes, performance and social customs during Carnival. This painting's chalky and rigid surface texture gives it the illusion of an archeological find–as if it were torn from a mural depicting imagined histories from the artist's world.
Curtis Talwst Santiago questions our understanding of history while exploring issues of memory and ancestry. His work addresses the absence of certain narratives from the dominant culture, such as people’s diasporic experiences. His relationship to his motherland of Trinidad informs his practice across painting, drawing, sculpture, video and performance.
Curtis Talwst Santiago was born in 1979 in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. He studied as an apprentice of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun.
Santiago has exhibited his work internationally at numerous venues, including: the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; The Rooms in Newfoundland, Canada; The Drawing Center in New York; The FLAG Art Foundation in New York; the New Museum in New York; the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan; the Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia; the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatchewan, Canada; the Pérez Art Museum Miami in Miami, Florida; Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada; and the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia; among others.
Santiago’s work has also been included in the inaugural 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art in Toronto, Canada; the 2018 Biennale de Dakar in Dakar, Senegal; and the SITELines.2018 Biennial: Casa Tomada at SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico.
His work is in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.
Santiago considers himself decentralized, living and working between New York City, Lisbon and Toronto.