By Raven Shellman
On Sept. 23, the Rohrbach Library Gallery welcomed “Relentless Color” by artist Daniel Egusquiza. The reception was held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., giving guests the opportunity to speak to Egusquiza himself, view his art and purchase pieces if interested.
Egusquiza is a native of Peru who moved to America, graduating Northern Illinois University in 2008 with a B.A. in Art. The pieces in the gallery are watercolor paintings that were inspired by photographs that Egusquiza took while visiting Peru in 2009.
Overall, the paintings heavily draw inspiration from artists Pablo Picasso, for the human figure aspect, and Diego Rivera, for the social justice component. Egusquiza stated, “Even in the landscape paintings, I focused on the tiles on the roofs because they were laid out by unique people. I wanted to bring that uniqueness out, to embrace the differences we all have.”
While on this trip, Egusquiza learned many things about Peru. In Peru, the native people are seen as second class, and in the Andes, the natives will travel down the mountains where their culture is negatively viewed. They become relentless in their clothing and language to not conform to the “normal.”
The people portrayed in the paintings have bright clothing that represents this relentless attitude. Speaking of the vibrant colors he uses, Egusquiza stated, “The Andes are often barren until one reaches high altitudes where you find colors in flowers and rocks. The people use these to tell their own individual stories in color. I call myself a story-teller, and I want to tell their stories.”
His paintings show how unique these people are and how they carry their own colors and stories. The people are “Relentless in Color,” hence where the gallery installation received its name.
Along with being an artist, Eguquiza also runs a nonprofit organization called “Barrio Alegria.” As stated on the website, the goal of this nonprofit is, “Barrio Alegria is a community transformation organization located in Reading that utilizes the arts as a platform for community engagement and for the development of social and multicultural awareness.” All projects are free, anyone is welcome to attend.
During the reception, Eguquiza shared how he got into art. Growing up, his family was middle-class; he remembers that stacks of paper were considered wealth. So, growing up and, even to this day, seeing stacks of papers means wealth to him. Though when his mother would get paper, he remembers stealing it from her to draw, to use it as an escape. He would draw and draw and draw, leading him to pursue a career in art.
Within Eguquiza’s journey to Peru and with his nonprofit organization, his proudest moment according to him was when “[his] niece asked to buy one of [his] paintings. It proved to [him] that [he] was able to overcome [his]own beliefs as an artist.”
The Rohrbach Gallery will host Eguquiza’s “Relentless Color” until the end of this current semester. Anytime the Library is open, one can view the paintings on the second floor displayed upon the wall. If anyone wishes to contact Eguquiza or learn more about Barrio Alegria, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://www.barrioalegria.com.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment