Málaga, (EFE).- The American artist Devan Shimoyama has been inspired by tarot cards to denounce something so topical in recent days such as racism, as well as homophobia and transphobia, in his first individual exhibition in Spain, which opens this Friday in Malaga.
He became interested in tarot at the beginning of the pandemic to “find a more transcendental answer” to questions he asked himself. And he used it as a “tool” to delve into a “deeper knowledge” of his own being, he explained in the presentation of the exhibition installed at the Contemporary Art Center (CAC) in Malaga.
Her paintings are “collages” in which she uses glitter, fabrics, sequins, costume jewellery, jewels or fabric flowers. Elements that he considers “from a zone of interstice between masculine and feminine identity”. A mixed space in which he feels “very safe”.
In most of his works he is the protagonist. Because at the beginning of the pandemic “he was alone” and he wanted to show himself in this series of paintings that present “a journey of transformation.” Although in other pieces his grandparents or his mother appear embodying other tarot characters.
Regarding racism, he points out that the fact of representing himself, an African-American, as the protagonist of the tarot cards “is already a radical act in itself.”
Pamela Colman Smith
He also wanted to pay “tribute and recognition” to Pamela Colman Smith, creator of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot. “An example of how an African-American woman who had brought modernism. And the author of a very popular tarot, she has been erased from art history and has not been recognized ”.
For Shimoyama, “The West is full of examples of racism.” And sometimes they are not “as visible” as those experienced in recent days in Spain. Rather, “they are invisible and are dismissed by thinking that they are small, but it is necessary to talk about them. And educate the look to push the limits and stereotypes and go on deconstructing that racist history ”.
In the case of the US, he assures that “racism is not so present in the big cities, but as you travel to the rural areas of deep America there are obvious examples that appear in the news.”
“Throughout the entire structural system there is racism in terms of taxes or how neighborhoods are arranged. We blacks are more isolated, with more tax pressure and it is more difficult for us to climb the social ladder. It is difficult to lead a comfortable life if you have an African American origin, ”she laments.
It also happens with homophobia and transphobia, because “many States are legislating” against these groups, and for example “the ‘drag’ cannot do their shows or lead a normal life.”
According to the artist, “we are experiencing a time of regression, of loss of freedoms and a return to situations of the past.”
For her part, the artistic director of the CAC Málaga and curator of the exhibition, Helena Juncosa, pointed out that in the fifteen works that make it up there are “references to the history of art, mythology, the ‘drag’ world, queer culture , anime, cinema and fashion, but also classical painters like Caravaggio or Goya”. EFE