Gollywoog Cakewalk at ‘Mares de Málaga’ is a very special project to me as it presents a fascinating combination of works by wonderful 19th-century artists such as Carlos de Haes, Emilio Ocón and Joaquín Sorolla and more contemporary pieces by Andrés Merida, Bola Barrionueva and myself.
According to the exhibition curator, Óscar Carrascosa: “This exhibition explores the past, present and future of the city and its residents, visual arts, literature, heritage, and symbolic narratives. It displays different perspectives on the same sea, on a Málaga that has evolved over the years. The sea remains while society is transformed, catching the eye of both outsiders and local creators with its vision of other physical and emotional geographies”.
The exhibition is primarily made up of artworks from the collection at the Museo del Patrimonio Municipal, spanning several centuries in five different sections: The Sea in Sight, The Noise of the Foam, The Seascape Tradition, Collective Memory and Recreation, and Inhabited Seas. It has given me the opportunity to share a venue with such exceptional artists as Joaquín Sorolla, Carlos de Haes, Horacio Lengo, Andrés Méridaand Sebastián Ruíz Rivas.
Gollywoog Cakewalk: the joy of living
Gollywoog Cakewalk is a 200×153 cm artwork using oil-based charcoal, oil pastel and coloured pencil on Saunders Waterford paper. It depicts a group of people playing in the waves, their light-hearted, playful stance highlighting the joy of living that we are all keen to experience.
Focusing on play, this artwork forms part of my line of research, which links the gamification of life with the pleasure of losing all notion of time. Trust is built between the characters in the artwork through their game, and this behaviour is what makes us exceptional as a species.
The artwork features a new formal method for depicting play, taking a destructured approach by applying water to a traditional drawing to create highly expressive new forms.
As the water lands on and runs down the paper, the artwork becomes fluid; indeed, I have been searching for a musical language born of percussion and the unique organicism created in the act of depicting life throughout my career. The drawing is created and destroyed, layer by layer, layer upon layer, like the soil covering our planet, strata upon strata, like humans and their history, with layer upon layer added by different societies. This was my approach to the drawing: layers of different grey tones provided a foundation, before being covered in colour using different techniques such as water-based media and coloured pencils to fill the artwork with vibrancy and radiance.
The piece is inspired by Claude Debussy’s music, especially the suite dedicated to his daughter Chouchou, which explores the toys she plays with in the form of music.