Portrait without apparent faces.

I started this series in the nineties when I was in Cuba and it is inspired by several photographs taken in the street of the busy city. I took pictures of the people waiting in line but not the full picture, just the inferior part of the body: the legs and pelvis. Even though the face wasn’t visible, it was perceptible a certain impatience or maybe the patience needed to live in a politic system of   harsh control. I think that the body can talk for himself because even the body has a language that emits signals that we are not capable to control. So that the posture, the clothes and the attitude can transmit a message in this case the wait, the resignation and the deterioration of the country and its people.

Portrait without apparent faces. Acrylic on canvas 120 cm x 80 cm 2017.
Portrait without apparent faces. Detail of limbs of man in sportswear. shorts and sneakers
Portrait without apparent faces. Acrylic on canvas 120 cm x 80 cm 2018

The Project ‘portraits without apparent faces’ is meant to be a work in progress.

I never had the intention to paint physiognomic portraits. My idea was to change the concept of the traditional portrait in which the face and the expression are the protagonists and this is why it started this transformation towards a more ‘typological’ portrait in which the details, the clothes and the objects that relate with the person and his body are the features that permit us to understand the story and the social class of the portrayed subject. –

The essence of the series stays in the invisible part of the body, in the not apparent faces, which allows the spectator to create his own idea about the subject also helped by the details of the inferior part of the body. Moreover, i like tto highlight the essentiality of the legs because they are the medium by which we move. They allow us to stand up or to move, they allow us to be independents, to run and  to jump. And in addition to sustain our weight they protect and guide our personal history.

My legs are the medium that traced my personal cartography. As my way of thinking evolved I found myself in front of a crossroad that invited me to undertake a new path. I left behind my cork island Cuba and for some years, I went to live in a small island not far away. From the Dominican Republic I embarked on a boat and I started traveling with some friends just to realize that there were more people than I thought who benefited from the USA politics towards the Cubans (the “wet foot/dry foot” policy). We arrived up to Mona island, in the Mona Channel between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, a piece of land part of Puerto Rico but we haven’t be allowed to dock.

This experience was a turning point in my life and in my work as an artist. Not because I started being interested in the emigration, but to ask myself questions about the way I was thinking. I started thinking a lot more about the direction that my life was taking about how we choose the path that we undertake and why we choose them and all these reflection started appearing in my art.

‘Portraits without apparent faces’ is a series that reflects a personal vision of some important contemporary themes. According to me it represents a sum of questions and problems about the coexistence of different ways of interacting in between humans.

What can be seen as scandalous for someone maybe it is not for others. The sublime and the ridiculous, the solemn and the laughable, the violent and the exquisite come together in time and space.

I’m interested in exploring the everyday scenes, the habits that we do almost impulsively without really thinking about them. I want to transform this insignificant moment in reflection through my art to generate different meanings.

There is not one single person in the universe that has a cartography similar to another, the cartography is just like a fingerprint. We undertake several paths in our daily lives and we do it voluntarily or because we are obligated. I go out and I take pictures of legs and afterwards I paint those images on canvas using different techniques and styles in order to transmit the physical and mental heterogeneity.

Sometimes a simple gesture reveals who we are. My goal is to make people understand that they are involved in history, the spectator should approach my paintings as looking himself in the mirror and undertakes a point of view from his own reality. This series is an attempt to capture times and cultures.

Yalili Mora

2018.