Artists of the Month: Nora Demattio & Víctor Sales
Artist Nora Demattio noticed during her academic career that, today, when one speaks of gender equality, the emphasis is usually focused on women. But man should not be set-aside in reconciliation for past errors. He too deserves his place. And in his place one will find that there is great diversity to the male gender. With the intent to transcend society’s definitions of what it is to be a man, Nora and her partner, Víctor Sales, reflect on the concept of masculinity through the camera’s lens and present to us their exhibit Hommenaje.
The title, Hommenaje, is a play on words from the Spanish word homenaje(tribute; a demonstration of respect, admiration, and esteem made to a person), and the French word homme (man).
Together Nora and Víctor express, respectively, two different but complementary concepts in Hommenaje: The idea that man’s vulnerability is demonstrated when he is on display in his environment; and a rescue of man and his unobserved daily actions from oblivion, with the goal of restoring his place in his environment.
Nora’s work seeks to answer the question: What is man? While society often imparts the definition on the individual through his gender, Nora seeks to criticize the idea of an ideal man and looks for true diversity on and behind the scene. While the display of man “on stage” – under the spotlight – contrasts vivid colors and light and dark, the Lomographic style of man “off-stage” casually expresses the instant and highlights the beauty of imperfection, which is something she aims to display.
Víctor defines his photos in Hommenajeby using black and white, high-contrast, and elements of color, to show us man and his place in society, especially those men who have been forgotten. He focuses on everyday people; the men we often forget to look in the eye: the shoe shiner, the street vender, the garbage collector – the unsung heroes of the city – in an attempt to demonstrate the charm in every facet of man, and to reconnect with the wide variety of manifestations that have always been here.