Carlos Barberena

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Artist Statement:
For me, art is a powerful form of communication that I employ to reflect on and question the issues that we encounter in a consumer society. Lead by corporation-friendly governments, we are often indifferent to environmental pollution and socio-political injustices. In this series of prints I appropriate and re-contextualize masterpieces, borrowing their compositional strategies and sometimes their titles, but inserting contemporary imagery with sarcasm and satire to create new works. My prints take a critical view on different greedy corporations that are using GMO’s in their products. They condemn the way policies that favor these corporations are affecting our natural resources, immigration, health and labor rights, provoking a catastrophe in our contemporary society. I am trying to challenge the status quo in this “fast food society” making satirical relief prints that emphasize both concept and craft.
Relationship to Chicago:
I found that Chicago has a very rich history producing socio-political prints mostly for the influences of Mexicans immigrants or Mexican-American printmakers. One of my first contacts in Chicago was Rene Arceo, one of the founders of Taller de Grabado Mexicano and director of Arceo Press, who invited me to participate on his portfolios and introduce me to the printmaking scene in the Latino neighborhood of Pilsen. Since then, my work has been enriched with the diversity that you can experience in Chicago, the protests against police abuse, corrupt politicians, criminalization of undocumented immigrants, racism, labor rights, environmental pollutions, gentrification etc. For me it is very important to create awareness and to challenge the status quo in this “fast food society” making satirical relief prints that emphasize both concept and craft, the same way my heroes Posada, Goya, Daumier did. Inspired by the Chicago printmaking movement, I founded in 2011 the printmaking project, “La Calaca Press”, a printmaking exchange created with the purpose to promote printmaking and create connection between Chicago printmakers and printmakers around the world. The project has had the participation of more than 500 printmakers from 30 countries and it has been exhibited in Australia, Estonia, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Spain and the USA. In the last 2 years I have been working with the Instituto Grafico de Chicago (IGC) promoting printmaking and the creation of portfolios and organizing the printmaking festival “Grabadolandia”.
Year of Birth:
Country of Origin:
Places Of Residency:
Nicaragua, Costa Rica, USA.
Art Form: