Track 16 Gallery presents Douglas Perez Castro’s series of paintings on paper “Vedado”. Cuban artist Douglas Perez Castro’s work reflects on such subjects as colonialism, race, and history from his unique perspective. Framed by the “Periodo Especial”—the period of economic and political upheaval that has followed the failure of perestroika—his work emerged from the unique ambiguity, complexity, energy, and desperation that characterized daily life in Cuba in the 1990s.
Douglas Perez Castro was born 1972 in Cienfuegos, a city with a long colonial history. That colonialism plays strongly in his work along with themes of race, history, class structures and castes. To tell his stories, convey his ideas, and critique his world, Perez Castro references such disparate elements as Vermeer, Christo, steam punk, the Cuban avant-garde, and political cartoons from 19th-century Havana newspapers. His pointed droll scene of colonial-era life in Cuba is always satirically distorted with juxtapositions of the ignored darker histories and with contemporary art references.
The series “Vedado” is named after one of Havana’s most affluent districts. Vedado (the Spanish word for “forbidden”) got its name for being a designated off-limits zone by Spanish colonists. The area’s development was accelerated after the Spanish-American War as investors and sugar barons built mansions and hotels. Perez Castro’s series is a send up of the image of the carefree, good life in Vedado, a vibrant land of irreverence, racial homogeny, and affluence.