Jota Castro | Republic of Peru / Belgium

Cheers, 2008

Light box, C print
38x51x4 cm
Edition of 4+1 AP

Courtesy of Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin

Like his poetry, Castro’s work is painful and filled with longing. The artist uses the identity symbols of places, which change as he wanders.

Castro did not detach himself from the roots connecting him to the culture from which he came. In his work, he fastens handcuffs, creating a long chain that connects him to his past. It is similar with the statuettes of the Crucifix and other religious symbols through which he associates with his native land, challenging the distances that set him apart from it.

In the exhibition, Castro is represented by two works; the first includes golden balloons from the birthday party of occupied Baghdad, tied to bullets gathered from the battlefields. In the other work he is seen doubtfully cheering the Statue of Liberty, which knew better days when it welcomed the immigrants who came through its gates to the New World.

Castro, known for the large scales of his works, compels the viewer to watch a reduced scale version of reality. The Statue of Liberty, a symbol of hope for many people who escaped Europe following World War I, sinks in the depths of the ocean in this work. That same statue, which waited for them and lit their way by its sheer scale to the threshold of the free world—the home to all immigrants—now sinks in Castro’s strikingly small piece.