When the piece, “Pablo in Commerce” by Esteban Zapata, arrived at the gallery in the southern Spanish city of Seville one of the six fiberglass figurines had been irreparably shattered and subsequently taped together with the words “opened by order of French customs.” The figurines represent Pablo Escobar in different costumes, including Robin Hood Pablo and Hip Hop Pablo.
“I feel a strong indignation,” Esteban told Colombia Reports. “But at the same time I’m fascinated. The piece has changed.”
Regina Perez Castillo, curator of the gallery “Mechanica” in Seville, opted to include the decapitated Pablo with the customs tape and the FedEx document Zapata signed certifying that the package contained neither drugs nor explosives.
“What really caught me was the issue of the body. The narcotraffickers have always sent drugs inside living human bodies, wrapped in condoms in their stomachs. The parallel is striking. The French customs officials felt compelled to look inside the symbolic body. It makes a brutal commentary about who we are as Latinos,” stated the artist.
Esteban Zapata is a rising star in the Latin American art scene. After seeing his work at artBO, the prestigious international art fair in Bogota, Castillo invited Zapata to show his work in her gallery.
The exposition “Dog Days” opens on Friday in Mechanica, Seville.