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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Cayey holds special art exhibition starting tonight

Wilberto Santiago with his portrait of renowned Cayey artist Ramón Frade León

By The Star Staff

The first floor of the former Cayey City Hall has been converted into a special gallery for the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the central mountain town’s founding.

“A todo Color,” an exhibition of several artists, including Wilberto Santiago, opens tonight at 7 p.m. thanks to the volunteer work of the nonprofit entity “Cayey Cultural,” which organized the exhibition along with the municipality.

Santiago, a young Cayetano self-taught artist, began painting in 2017 with the great advantage of having studied cultural anthropology at Complutense University in Madrid, where he was able to expose himself to various cultural currents worldwide, as well as in New York.

Included in the exhibition is the large (6 feet by 4 feet) portrait of Cayey-born visual artist and architect Ramón Frade León (1875-1954).

“Here we have Frade in the line of hyperrealism, a technique that is booming in many parts of the world, although here in Puerto Rico it has not had so much of a boom,” said Santiago, who dedicated 160 hours to the painting in order to have it ready for tonight’s opening. “The intention was to bring it in color, following the thematic line of the exhibition. This is a work made for this exhibition.”

“This is a technique that goes beyond photography,” the young artist added.

Hyperrealist art originated toward the end of the 1960s in response to the abstract, conceptual and non-objectual approaches of contemporary art. At first, the critics were not favorable, but it found its center in the 1972 exhibition “V documenta” in the city of Kassel, Germany. Today, it has become an influential movement and remains very active.

Santiago, who also ventures into photography, points out that the idea was to bring Frade into the reality of the 21st century.

“When they come to the exhibition, they will be able to get additional details through a ‘QR Code,’” Dr. Aida Mendoza said, pointing out that “if anyone worked on giving color to all of Cayey, it was Ramón Frade León.”

“Let’s see the sensation that the piece causes,” she added. “It is Don Ramón watching us! Without a doubt he is the custodian of this exhibition.”

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