Pop Artist in Miami Cries (Well, that’s part of the story)
Posted by Reed V. Horth
By Reed V. Horth for Robin Rile Fine Art (www.robinrile.com)
It is usually not good when you see your friends cry. However, there are exceptions in all things. This past weekend, I happened to have seen a wonderful example of this fact illustrated in living color.
In summer 2011, my wife Kat and I had the pleasure of getting to know a Pop artist in Madrid (Spain) named dEmo (Eladio de Mora). While walking from our neighborhood in Retiro to our favorite restaurant in Chueca, Kat noticed a shiny object in a window and I noticed the sculpture which it hung on. This story is more fully illustrated in my blog post Pop Artist dEmo and the Serendipidy of Shiny Things. Noticing immediately that many of the same collectors in Miami who fancied the works of Romero Britto, Steven Gamson and Leonardo Hidalgo would be drawn to these enigmatic, quirky pop art images from dEmo, I knew we had to meet. Through several meetings and many late-night conversations we developed a wonderful rapport with him, his family and his friends. We were then more convinced than ever that his rapid-fire energy and mile-per-minute thinking were just the right type of energy for us to bring to Miami with us. Within a short while, we began placing his works with our collectors around the world.
Then something miraculous happened. Several months ago, an administrator at Miami Dade College, Dr. José Vicente, President of MDC North Campus saw dEmo’s works in one of our ads. He too felt it was a perfect and enigmatic statement for the Miami community. In conjunction with the heads of The International Solidarity for Human Rights (www.ishrights.org), Ms. Elizabeth Sanchez-Vega and Ms. Devorah Sasha they set to work on a plaza at MDC North commemorating “The Route to Human Rights”. dEmo was, of course, enlisted to create the sculptures for the plaza. In his typical altruistic style, he embraced this project the same way he approaches all things… con ganas (with conviction). The result is “Niños”, a collection of 10 multi-colored Pop Art children perched upon colored pedestals. dEmo felt that the children, each looking in a different direction, represent the children of the world seeking out new inroads to learning and a brighter future without the shackles of racism, sexism, homophobia, and intolerance that we adopt as adults. You see, children do not see their differences with other children. It is adults who teach them to place boundaries between “Us” and “Them”. This cycle can, and must stop with the next generations of us. dEmo’s colorful and energetic work exemplifies this entirely. “This project is taking human rights and the arts, bringing it to the people and making it part of everyday life,” said Elizabeth Sanchez Vegas, president of International Solidarity for Human Rights (ISHR). This project is also the first and largest permanent public installation of dEmo’s sculpture within the United States.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
With the assistance of architect Frank Costoya Jr. (www.fcarchitect.com) and Willy Fernandez at Link Construction Group (www.linkconstructiongroup.net) as well as a host of others, this project was approved and scheduled for unveiling on December 10th, 2011, the 63rd Anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The ground was broken and the project completed in less than 30 days.
It was on this day, that I proudly watched my dear friend cry. Publically. Honestly. Generously. As he was introduced by his dear friend The Honorable Maria Cristina Barrios Almazor, Consul General of Spain, (of whom Kat and I have also had the pleasure of sharing company recently) I saw my friend’s eyes grow red around the edges. Her impassioned introduction, in his native Castilian tongue, was eloquent and extemporaneous. She spoke of his legendary prominence in humanitarian causes and philanthropic pursuits in Spain, and how he is always the first to volunteer to help a friend in need or a cause that is dear to him. As I stood listening, I watched dEmo’s eyes and knew he was humbled and honored by the gesture. When it came time for him to deliver his own speech I knew it would be almost too much to bear. As he began, I texted Kat (who was unable to join us) that dEmo was overcome with emotion at this placement and the ceremony… “Waterworks” I wrote. Her response? “Ahhhh….How cute is he?”
This is the effect dEmo has on those who know him. His emotions are as pure as the primary colors he adorns his works with. He wears them proudly. As he walked over to the podium to finally unveil the works themselves with a plethora of children on hand the honor guard played their horns in a regal pronouncement. He turned to me as he walked and threw a strong arm around my neck (which is significantly higher than he can reach comfortably). He looked at me with rosy eyes and smiled. I returned the smile as my own eyes went red.
“Felicidades” (Congratulations), I said to him.
“Gracias, mi amigo. Gracias por todo” (Thank you, my friend. Thank you for everything) was his reply.
dEmo sculpture can be exclusively purchased from ROBIN RILE FINE ART at www.robinrile.com.