Roots on the Rock | Cesar Forero Exhibition March 6 – 24

Review by Afsanhi Akhoondi, April 2024

Cesar Forero’s Roots on the Rock exhibition was held on March 6 – 24th at the Propeller Art Gallery. Forero explores the interconnectedness of nature and humanity through various mediums, including photography, prints, ceramic sculptures, and installations. Although Forero utilizes diverse disciplines and details, from small to large-scale ceramic sculptures, all the smaller elements are unified into a natural whole. He has created creatures based on “environmental recovery” that resemble birds, amphibians, and wind insects.

One standout piece, “Two Birds,” features numerous small-sized ceramic birds installed from the ceiling, symbolizing unity in black and white, akin to the balance of night and day. These pieces hint at a broader reflection on the passage of time.

Cesar Forero, Birds, Mixed Media Sculpture, 60 x 40 x 40 inches

Forero’s ceramic sculptures serve as allegorical representations, often incorporating elements reminiscent of male and female genitalia. Other sculptures represent the combination of animals and holes, sometimes with a flesh pink or dark red colour resembling female genitals. However, they still evoke the figures of birds such as toucans, roosters, or swans, with minimal leaf and plant motifs.

Throughout the exhibition, recurring symbols such as frogs, seen as guardians of water, and butterflies, interpreted as representing bisexuality, underscore Forero’s environmental concerns.

Photographs of the artist and his son are reminiscent of mythological figures like the flower goddess Flora and the earth goddess Gaia, emphasizing humanity’s internal connection to nature. The portraits are made to resemble bird’s faces and are part of nature, surrounded by flowers, landscapes, and rocks, as if they are protecting the earth.

During the opening on March 9th, Cesar performed in a rocking chair adorned with butterfly wings, incorporating musical instruments and elements of his artwork into his act. His performance involved rhythmic footwork accompanied by instruments like castanets and guiros, as well as dancing inspired by birds and imitating their voice. He also whispered to himself and narrated about his scars, as if he wanted to speak to the ground.

Cesar Forero’s Roots on the Rocks performance was presented at Propeller Art Gallery, March 9, 2024

Afsanhi Akhoond is a visual artist originally from Iran and currently based in Toronto. She holds a MFA in Fine Art from the Azad Art University in Tehran where she served as a faculty member and program coordinator. She recently graduated from the Arts Management program at Centennial College (Toronto) and was an Intern with Propeller Art Gallery (March – April 2024).

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