Photo: “Julissa” by Gabriel García Román
Gabriel García Román is a Mexican-American artist whose newest series features people of color, and at different points on the gender and queer spectrum, in the portrait style of classic Christian icons.
Román is based out of New York City, but was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and raised in Chicago. Much of his work explores the duality he sees in his life; in one interview, he describes himself as “the introvert, the confident, the American, the Mexican, the friend, the brother, son, etc.”
His artist statement describes this series as an attempt at illuminating contemporary figures who are multi-dimensional, powerful, and proud. After printing the photos, Román gives the artists a copy and a marker, and asks them to write about their identity.
From an interview with Fusion:
“Usually when you see a portrait of someone you have to interpret who that person is based on how they’re posing or how they’re looking at the camera and I wanted to add another layer to that by giving [the subjects in my photographs] they’re voice back,” Román said.
NPR’s “Code Switch” has the statements of some of the subjects, along with more photos. Román has photographed 30 subjects so far; much of the work, including his process, is detailed and displayed on his website.
Were you aware of Román’s work? Have you seen other examples of classic religious art styles used to explore contemporary figures and issues?
Posted by David Streever