Spanish artist Domingo Zapata hosted the exhibit “HOLD ME,” which took place in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village at 9 West 8th street. The exhibition featured a collection of works from diverse artists like Radhika Gupta-Buckley (India), Evelyne Druout (France), Joaquin Avila (Cuba), and Zapata himself (Spain).
The exhibition was filled with guests such as Edwin Hodge (Actor, ‘The Purge’), Antoine Verglas (Photographer), Skye P Marshall (Actor), Kelly Hughes (Model), Amber Wang (Model), Jessica Val Ortiz (Content Creator), Malik Roberts (Artist) and Vernon O’Meally (Artist), who all came to celebrate the diverse, collaborative works of all the artists and the community behind it.
The one-night-only event showcased the works of Domingo Zapata, a New York City resident who is constantly inspired by the rambunctious city but also moved by his experiences from other places in the world, specifically his hometown, Palma de Mallorca, Spain. “Downtown Manhattan has experienced a significant shift for the arts over the last two decades, yet artists always find a way,” a thought that contributed to Zapata’s idea for his exhibition in which he carefully selected artists whose work reflects the ever-changing community of Manhattan, while visually exploring otherworldly focuses.
Diving into the artists featured, Zapata states that “Radhika examines the ongoing struggles of Indian women and peoples but with a unique, explosive approach to color. While it is specific, it speaks to global conversations for so many right now; Evelyn sees the world with heightened perception, and when she processes that through her own artistic lens, her fantastical animals and natural worlds become a collision of form, color, and fashion. For the viewer, it is a dream you don’t want to awake [from]. Joaquin Avila is the new Jackson Pollock. He goes back to the past to bring that work into the future; it’s a conversation many people aren’t brave enough to have. Joaquin’s movement of color transports the viewer from past to present in ways which reveal how these moments are connected to each other.”
Radhika Gupta-Buckley, in particular, was a stellar contribution to the exhibit, as her work brought an abundance of diverse experiences and knowledge about various cultures and global perspectives on society. Gupta-Buckley began her interest in art when she was six years old and pursued a career in Law, obtaining a degree from Oxford, which then led her to practice law at the Indian Supreme Court and the UN in the Hague. In her experiences working in law, she faced the harsh realities of those suffering injustice in the world, which led her back to her art as a way to educate and inspire others to take a stand on equality, gender bias, race, sexuality, and prejudice. Her portraits, inspired by Indian art history, are meant to give a voice to oppressed peoples by utilizing bold patterns and colors.
French artist Evelyne Drout also brought a similar travel experience and multicultural expertise. Her experiences living in France, Southeast Asia, Russia, Armenia, Spain, and the U.S. helped to influence her work. Evelyne is inspired by her journeys, along with the beauty of nature. Drouot’s “Bird” series is one of the most telling pieces about who she is as an artist. It incorporates bird-like figures in fields of color, detailing a mythological figure with symbolic meanings of beauty and fear.
Cuban artist Joaquin Avila creates paintings and mixed-media pieces that challenge the viewer’s sense of history and perspectives. Avila transforms classic historical paintings and architectural scenes through reconstruction, bringing them into a modern, contemporary dimension. He utilizes the technique of soft and delicate brushwork to create colorful stains and grooves that flow past the eyes. Avila’s latest thrill is revving classic paintings and bringing them to present times to convey the consistencies of the past and the present, which brings viewers to the bigger story of just how much life there is behind those old canvases.
Zapata has been an artist for over 25 years producing Neo-expressionist paintings and sculptures that often incorporate mix-media, collage, and graffiti techniques. He is most known for his signature “Polo” series and other varieties of work that consistently explores themes of sexuality, opulence, and vitality in his signature style that layers fantasy and reality. Zapata is more recently absorbed with collections focusings on his native Spanish culture, Zapata Rhinos, and Hollywood icons. His artistic capabilities are also inspired by his songwriter background (Zapata co-wrote lyrics for Michael Jackson and Jon Secada), where he incorporates poetic text into visual aspects within his work. The techniques used to position, in the end, to bring viewers into his world where fact and fiction exist together, spotlighting beauty, depth, and meaning. The Louvre’s Grand Palais recently showed Zapata’s famed Mona Lisa series. His work has been collected by George Soros, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Goldman Sachs.