“Diaspora II,” the newest exhibition by Nebraska’s Francisco Souto, opens Oct. 22 at Kiechel Fine Art Gallery.
The exhibition runs Oct. 22 through Dec. 3 at the Lincoln gallery, 1208 O St. An opening reception is 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 22, with an artist talk at 6:30 p.m.
The work in this exhibition continues Souto’s response to the reality affecting his native Venezuela. It follows his first “Diaspora” exhibition in 2019. “Diaspora” means a dispersion of people from their original homeland. In that exhibition, the drawings were visual testimonies of the social, economic and political deterioration eroding Venezuela.
Souto’s current exhibition takes a broader view.
“That exhibition was directed toward the Venezuelan diàspora, and that was two years ago,” Souto said. “And then obviously it seems like things are spreading to all different parts of the world. I think I need to revisit this idea, but not to localize it to South America and Venezuela, but more worldwide.
“Now diàspora is affecting anyone in the world. Before, I was focused on my people, but now it is everybody’s people.”
The exhibition features 23 new works by Souto. Each is focused on capturing a collective experience of struggle and perseverance. Souto also pays careful attention to aesthetics in each work.
“I want to create beautifully crafted objects because, in an implied way, they become the point of entry for the viewer and the platform to start to have a conversation,” he said. “Even though these people are struggling through the current political situations, their vibrant spirit is still there. The vibrancy of the color reflects that. The human spirit hasn’t been broken quite yet. These pieces reflect the human condition, and that’s very important for me.”
Souto was born in Venezuela and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Herron School of Art and his Master of Fine Arts from Ohio State University. He began his career in printmaking, then switched to drawing after an injury. His work in both media is intricate and detail-oriented.
He became the director of the School of Art, Art History and Design at Nebraska in 2017. He joined the Husker faculty in 2004.