Lauderdale art exhibit aims to revive patriotism
Rolando Chang Barrero was born and raised in Miami, the son of Cuban immigrants who arrived in the United States in the early 1960s.
The artist and founder of the Boynton Beach Arts District and the Rolando Chang Barrero Fine Art Gallery in Lake Worth said he remains inspired by — and grateful for — the political asylum and citizenship granted to his family.
Barrero began painting a flag series referencing patriotism in the United States, Cuba and other countries about two years ago, in response to what he has perceived as anti-American sentiment.
Now he’s displaying his solo exhibit, “Patriotism Revisited,” at The Great Project Art Gallery in Fort Lauderdale until July 6.
“I thought it was timely for people to question their patriotism and to look at their values and how they respond to their citizenship in this country,” said Barrero, of West Palm Beach. “It’s just been kind of grinding me a little bit that there’s been so much negativity toward people in government ...
“It’s very strange how the modern temperament is to condemn the country instead of the issue at hand.”
As part of the exhibit, a series of self-portraits will grace stackable, painted wine boxes in the center space.
Visitors can see the four-dimensional “Liberty,” which has a 36-by-48-inch colorful wooden backdrop depicting the American flag. LED lights create an interchanging glow of colors. It was made in collaboration with illustrator Gary Kroman, who created the plastic glass Lady Liberty foreground.
“The aura around the painting is kinetic,” Barrero said. “It moves; it has a pulse.”
Barrero also will be displaying “The Pink Elephant,” created to raise awareness of the unspoken realities surrounding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. Barrero said the painting touches on LGBT issues the United States is facing today.
As Americans celebrate the Fourth of July, grilling hot dogs and igniting fireworks, he hopes “Patriotism Revisited” will spark a little more inside the average onlooker.
He would like people to take the time to pause and re-evaluate what they already know about paying respects to the country we call home.
“As a first-generation American from an immigrant family, it’s very important for us to remain respectful,” he said. “Some people forget that their ancestors got here the same way.”
If you go
What: “Patriotism Revisited” art exhibit
When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and Monday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Where: The Great Project Art Gallery, 820 NE Fourth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
Information: Facebook.com/TheGreatProjectJLT, 786-521-1199
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