Samuel SarmientoOrenjestad, Aruba

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2023

Samuel Sarmiento is a self-taught artist. In 2010, he undertook a Master’s degree in Artistic Production at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain. He has participated in various exhibitions, individually as well as collectively in Aruba, Venezuela, Spain, The Netherlands, Argentina and China. His work is composed of enigmatic characters, giving it an air of uncanniness, nonconformity and uncertainty together with a nuance of ludic and unreal sensations. His work is the “pictorial equivalent” of his thoughts and beliefs related with Caribbean folktales. Samuel lives and works in Aruba.

While I consider myself as a painter, I would prefer to describe my work as pictorial research on different mediums, as I am versatile in my selection. Over the years, I have used oils and acrylics for my art, and I am now experimenting with ceramics and video.

One of my central interests is the role of an object as a storyteller. Humanity, in all its forms and contradictions, witnessed from a third-person gaze, appears as one the central themes of my work. My art can be political at times, tackling concepts such as birth, death, exile, decolonization, justice and war. Nonetheless, you will always find a reference to symbolism, whether we are talking about Caribbean, South American and African cultures or even European religion and historical events.

Through my interest in symbolism and archetypes I am making a reflection about fiction in western world versus fiction in the Caribbean environment to make the point that a “logical” idea for some societies, can be strange for others.

As Ngozi Adichie argues, a single story can be dangerous, as not everybody has the experiences or values to translate a situation. Our capacity to judge or understand a singular moment depends on our symbolic mechanism and realities. Through my paintings, I wish to share a different point of view as a way to distance ourselves from the traditional western vision. In fact, I am attempting to create a global narrative that allows us to grasp humanity as a whole.

Finally, I believe that painting as a medium of expression is still very much alive, it just needs to open itself up to different narratives through different social and identity constructions.

I like to think of myself as a memory collector, creating diverse archives for future generations.