Gonzalo Fuenmayor spent his youth in Barranquillia, Colombia, a city that informed most of his working notions of Caribbean identity and its stereotypes. His work offers new readings and reflections on identity, perception of the other and national culture in a globalized world. Fuenmayor’s reflections of the double cultural influence are explored as an outsider in the United States and are intertwined with his rich cultural Caribbean heritage.
He creates striking, surreal photorealistic drawings which explore and interrogate the constant negotiation of identity, heritage and dislocation. As the art critic DeWitt Cheng wrote, the artist ironically juxtaposes ‘clichéd aspects of [indigenous] tropical culture… with [forcibly imposed European] Rococo and Victorian style elements’.
In his dark backgrounds, intensely worked with charcoal, he works series of objects, and transforms them into “visual grafts”, through images repeated by advertising, as well as local symbols such as bananas, toucans, pineapples and palm trees, which speak of ethnic pride with a cultural and political critical approach.
Gonzalo Fuenmayor holds an MFA, Masters in Fine Arts from Boston University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York. His work is part of the collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Gilberto Alzate Avendaño Foundation, Bogotá; the Jorge&Darlene Pérez Collection in Miami and the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá (MAMBO), among others.