Magdaleno Castañeda –
On the eve of Three Kings Day, Humboldt Park witnessed a special visit by Puerto Rican artist, Osvaldo Budet, whose paintings were unveiled at the opening night of “Romantic Political Affair,” an exhibit of the artist’s work at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (IPRAC). Despite the cold of a typical Chicago winter, dozens of people, including a television camera crew, gathered at IPRAC for an evening of art and appetizers. The exhibit consisted of seven paintings that varied between color and black and white.
Ray Vázquez, president of the IPRAC Board of Directors, welcomed everyone to the opening of the exhibit, which will run until March 5. José E. López, executive director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, introduced Budet and thanked him for his visit, as well as for the mural Budet created at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School. “How do we camouflage through art, messages we want to send about resistance,” was the question López asked the audience in explaining the themes behind Budet’s work.
“There is a duality between comedy and tragedy in Mexican life and cultural expression that resonates with Budet’s art in “Romantic Political Affair,” said López, who made also made connections between Budet’s work to that of Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo. When Budet spoke, he first thanked everyone for attending the exhibit and explained a little about his paintings saying, “I try to make politics more accessible to me and to all through humor.” This humor was visible in the “Where’s Waldo?” characteristic of Budet’s painting, which all include an image of himself. “Humor is a key to deal with anything,” Budet said. Many of his painting combine the humor with political events from the past like the Spanish Civil War as well as the Vietnam War. Budet also emphasized the importance of identity in his work. “The only thing we have is identity and we have to unite to keep our identity and respect other’s identity.”
After his speech, Budet socialized with the crowd and answered the public’s questions regarding his artwork. He also invited everyone to the community workshop and lecture at IPRAC held on January 9. It was great for Budet to have taken time from his busy schedule of studying art in Germany to visit Paseo Boricua. IPRAC was a very fitting place for the “Romantic Political Affair” exhibit because as Budet said, “Here is a place that preserves our culture.”