|Riding Souls (Cabalgando Almas)21 April to 05 May 2015
Omba Gallery is delighted to host the second ‘Riding Souls’, a solo exhibition by Cuban artist, Yasiel Palomino Pérez. The critically acclaimed ‘Riding Souls’ or ‘Cabalgando Almas’ in Spanish, was first exhibited in Havana, Cuba and, after falling in love with Namibia soon after his arrival in January this year, Pérez made the decision to exhibit the second ‘Riding Souls.’
Using oil and acrylic paint in combination with fine and large, emotional brushstrokes, Pérez depicts various breeds of horses moving restlessly across large canvases. Looking at the paintings, one can almost hear the horses snorting impatiently through flared nostrils and faintly, the dull pounding of their hooves on the earth. He seeks perfection and Pérez found it entirely in the temperament and physical nature of the horse. The Spanish word for ‘soul’ is ‘alma’ and there on his canvases spirited equestrian phantoms gallop and storm seemingly from nowhere but actually from the very bowels of Latin American spirituality and nostalgia – sweet and warm but with a bitter aftertaste – towards the observer.
True to his anti-materialistic Cuban roots, Pérez says that once upon a time, before the advent and interference of technology, man and horse were one. In this relationship, the horse, a beautiful, majestic creature on its own, became the perfect metaphor for the yearnings of the human heart and has come to symbolise for him the essence of the soul (both man and beast) – the unselfconscious beauty as manifested by horses and the awe they inspire with their graceful movements. In the world of Yasiel Palomino Pérez a wild horse running without restraint is akin to the attainment of the highest form of freedom and freedom, he says with some intensity, is the core yearning of every human heart. ‘My horses,’ Pérez adds, ‘are always free.’
About Yasiel Palomino Perez
Yasiel Palomino Pérez hails from the town and province of Las Tunas, in the Colonia Blanca area of Cuba. He was born into a family of musicians, artists and poets. His father is a self-taught music teacher. A great influence on his life and art, this exhibition in particular, was the friendship he had shared with his horse, Fury, as a young child on the family farm in Colonia Blanca and he used to spend hours watching and drawing horses.
Pérez attended La Academia de Artes de la Provincia Las Tunas and graduated in 2006. He spent the next three years lecturing at his alma mater and dedicated his leisure time to producing his own artworks. It takes him on average between two days to a week to complete a painting and he doesn’t use any visual aids to draw his horses, preferring instead to draw on his immense vault of memories. His first solo exhibition, the first ‘Riding Souls’, took place in Havana, the capital of Cuba, in 2014, followed by group exhibitions in Russia and Germany.