The Colombian artist Dahyana Portilla has just opened an exhibition in Miami with the most famous faces of salsa, works “sponsored” by people and music companies that can also be seen on the digital music platform Spotify.
The sponsors, all lovers of salsa, have helped her “with materials or even transport” and in this way the work becomes not only of the artist, but also “of the community”, explains Portilla in a statement to Efe .
More than a dozen large paintings hang from this Friday on the walls of the WDNA Jazz Gallery in Coral Gables with the mostly smiling faces of Hector Lavoe, Cheo Feliciano, Roberto Roena, Rey Barreto, Ruben Blades, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz , Jhonny Pacheco and Jhonny Ventura, among others.
The author, who signs his works as Philo and part of an office of draftsman, assured Efe today that this is only the beginning.
“I go in parts, I know I need many but I tried to start with the oldest, the predecessors,” said Portilla about his work, framed in the personal project My Latin color, which started without wanting to “The faces of the sauce” until completing 20 giant pieces, although not all are exposed now.
“My interest in tropical music was cultivated while painting the painting by Arsenio Rodríguez (also known as El Cieguito Maravilloso) for the covers of the trilogy ‘Arsenio Rodríguez, the prophet of Afro-Cuban music’, by writer Jairo Grijalba Ruiz in the year 2015 “, says Portilla.
“That’s when I discovered the incredible story behind tropical music and started developing the project My Latin color,” he adds.
Sometimes, as in the case of El Cieguito Maravilloso, a photograph is the starting point for Portilla’s portraits.
“I always try to give him his own perspective and free rein to the feelings and emotions that these characters transmit, using (in addition) videos and combined gestures,” says Portilla.
When asked about her favorite face, she does not doubt it.
“Roberto Roena, although everyone has given their magic to paint them When I painted (Eddy) Palmieri I dreamed that he played my piano (…) I am a frustrated pianist but that night I played with his hands”, he recalls.
“Everyone is great, everyone brings me to them, I feel their rages, their fears, their joy, but Roberto Roena was strange, special, I could say that he painted himself, even if you do not believe me, I painted him in four hours, while others They can take me days or two months, like the case of Jhonny Pacheco, “confesses the young Colombian.
Portilla, who has lived in South Florida for a few years, says that “there are things that Google does not know” and that she managed to investigate to conclude her work on the Dominican Pacheco, creator in 1968 of the Fania All Stars orchestra.
“Our mission,” says the artist with plural modesty, “is to promote empathy, entertainment, curiosity, critical thinking, conversation and inclusion, activating the space to share our passion for Latin music culture at the local level. and global “.
Portilla has achieved that the digital music platform Spotify include his paintings to present the music of famous salseros.
The Colombian is promoted on the Internet through its page with the name of My Latin color and has managed to get people to sponsor some specific work.
“This concept has been successful, we already have twenty works sponsored by large and small international companies or individuals, and also because of the impact it has caused in the different ways in which new generations around the world connect with each other and with their cultural roots, “notes Portilla.
His paintings are large format because “they are great, majestic and great, they should give place to the kind of music that makes people happy, to dance, that unites continents, that reflects the joy of a Latino. “, it states.