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Online Artist Talk | Curtis Talwst Santiago: Can’t I Alter

March 26, 2020 - May 31, 2020

Curtis Talwst Santiago: Can’t I Alter is the first exhibition devoted to the Canadian-Trinidadian artist’s drawing practice, which has expanded significantly in recent years. Throughout his work, Santiago grapples with “genetic imagination,” or the ability to access generational knowledge through imaginative recollection and projection. For the artist, this method serves as a means of wading through histories lost, hidden, and often tangled. In Can’t I Alter, Santiago creates a multi-faceted narrative in an immersive, drawing-filled installation that explores the theme of ancestry and the necessity of preserving the past while acknowledging the fallacies implicit in historical recollection. As viewers explore the space, they join Santiago and his alter ego, the J’ouvert Knight, in an attempt to locate a diasporic ancestor whose existence cannot ever be fully grasped. A newly commissioned film accompanies the installation, as well as performances organized by Santiago.

Learn more about the exhibition here.

Image: Curtis Talwst Santiago, Red Face Ancestral Vision 1, 2018. Spray paint, oil, charcoal, pastel, acrylic on canvas, 39 3/4 x 39 1/2 inches (101 x 100.3 cm). Courtesy of Rachel Uffner Gallery.

Watch Curtis Talwst Santiago walk us through Can’t I Alter, his site-specific, immersive installation that explores the theme of ancestry and the struggle to access lost and tangled histories.

Curtis Talwst Santiago: Can’t I Alter from The Drawing Center on Vimeo.


March 26, 2020
May 31, 2020
Event Category:


The Drawing Center
35 Wooster
New York, NY 10013 United States
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Curtis Talwst Santiago
Claire Gilman, Isabella Kapur