Marcelo Eli Sarmiento presents new works on paper and paintings in a solo exhibition, De Sangre De Tierra y De Oro, which translates to “Of Blood Of Earth And Of Gold.” The title is a reference to his bloodline, his ancestral connection, and our connection to the earth and indigenous cultures. In these selected works, Eli primarily works in oil paint and pastels, and experiments with watercolor and text, using his ink drawing practice as a base to present his research and visual studies exploring the cultural roots of ancient Mexico and Mesoamerica. Through this process, he presents the human figure and its representation to give weight, importance, and attention to how the Mexican and Meso American Indians presented themselves through artifacts and historical emblems.
This process of uncovering his cultural heritage and ancestors — their history, theology, living practices, and artistic expressions, is a way for him and the viewer to connect and identify with a cultural influence that isn't considered or spotlighted in the US, especially as first-and second-generation U.S citizens are oftentimes disconnected from the source, archaeological sites, people, and culture of their roots. This exhibition offers a space for memory and healing from the generational trauma of unknowing.
The works from this exhibition span across five years from 2016-2021. In his first solo exhibition since 2017, Eli’s work has matured and evolved not only in medium, but also in focus. From roaming the rooms of Old Masters and Art of the Americas at the Art Institute, to his first visit outside of the US to Mexico in late 2015 to learn about the vastly rich, powerful and beautiful history of Mexico and Mesoamerica — the subject has found its way into his visual language to refine and focus on a body of work that presents the beginning of a journey of discovery and research in tune with his LatinX heritage.
De Sangre De Tierra y De Oro
Learn, hear, feel and listen
W/ our eyes
Through the symbols
We see everyday
Feel the Earth's presence
Sacred connection to its divinity.
All that's removed and forgotten
Shine with timelessness
Through the smoke of forgetfulness
Our inherited forms breath
Aprende, escucha, siente y escucha
Con nuestros ojos
A través de los símbolos
Vemos todos los días
Siente la presencia de la Tierra
Conexión sagrada con su divinidad.
Todo lo que se quitó y se olvidó
Brilla con atemporalidad
A través del humo del olvido
Nuestras formas heredadas respiran
Volcanic glass cutting through the veil of the past
Connected to ancestors sharing their legends
One with the ♾️ universal forces creating new life
Time passes man but never really touching what is carved in stone
Shine bright with the gold through your veins.
Learn to listen to what you can not see.