The CCCNY opens its winter season with an exhibit of Joseph Milazzo‘s most ambitious project: The Cuba Series. In the winter of 2013 the Brooklyn-born artist embarked on a 6-week exploration of Cuba, the birthplace of his mother and the setting of many tales he heard growing up as a child, thus becoming the first member of his family to return to the island in over 40 years. His travels took him to every major city across the length of the country before finally reaching the small and dusty village of La Esperanza in the province of Villa Clara. It was here that his grandfather, Enrique Domínguez, was born.
Dominguez was a talented painter in his own right, but he died tragically in his 20s. His works were left behind when the family immigrated to the United States after the revolution, and the paintings were never seen again. Attempting to recover this lost part of his family heritage, Milazzo spent days knocking on doors, speaking to as many locals as he could to try and track down any leads to the missing art. Despite his greatest efforts, the paintings never materialized.
Milazzo returned home empty handed, but the experience was too profound to be seen as a failure. The warmth and generosity of the Cuban people was a revelation, inspiring a collection of 20 large-scale portraits based on the people he met during his travels, along with vivid descriptions recounting his interactions with them and the places he visited. Milazzo’s hope is to return to Cuba to give a portion of any paintings sold to those portrayed in the portraits, and to once again attempt to find his grandfather’s lost art.
OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 7 PM
La Nacional – Spanish Benevolent Society
239 West 14th Street, NYC
Viewing Hours: February 3rd thru February 5th
Saturday 3rd: 11 am to 10 pm
Sunday 4th and Monday 5th: 11 am to 5 pm
FOR MORE DETAILS AND A LOOK AT THE COMPLETE SERIES, CLICK HERE!
A lifelong artist, Brooklyn native Joseph Milazzo has spent his years searching for new means of expression in a variety of mediums including music, writing, illustration, and graphic design. The last few years have seen his focus turn to the canvas where he has at last come into his own as a painter of distinction. His approach balances realism against a more personal, illustrative style. Milazzo’s use of earth tones and muted colors imbue his portraits and scenes of everyday life a sense of stoic sentimentality.
In December of 2010, Milazzo produced his first thematic series of paintings with his ”Bar” series. Featuring local New York bartenders, drinkers and the watering holes where they congregate, the show was a success in the South Brooklyn arts scene and generated enough buzz to warrant another series. 2011 saw him settling in for a 6 month stint in New Orleans for the well received “Crescent City Diary” series. These paintings served as a visual record of his experiences in Nola and was exhibited in both New Orleans and in Brooklyn as part of the Art of Brooklyn Festival at Saint Francis College.
For his next project Milazzo sought to bring his organizational strengths into play by setting up his first group art show. Unveiled in December of 2012 and featuring 16 artists, the event was a resounding success and would set the course for his creative endeavors for the next 3 years. In that time he organized 6 group shows, each exploring themes within folklore, symbolism and pop culture. Through his promotional efforts, and in collaboration with dozens of artists these shows were able to attract hundreds of guests, cementing Milazzo’s name as a vital figure in the Brooklyn arts community.
His most recent project is The Cuba Series.