We're not invisible anymore on the gold boat?, 2016
Acrylic on canvas, 100” X 68”
Omara te amo, 2016
Acrylic on canvas, 78” x 76”
So this is all about keeping the pure race, and getting rich?, 2021
Acrylic on canvas, 85” x 57”
W-E-L-C-O-M-E-N people for gold, land color sunbathing and almost dreaming on the Mediterranean, 2021
Acrylic on canvas, 70" X 90"
Killing elephants? We’re still waiting for your sorry, 2021-2022
Acrylic on canvas, 85” x 95”
The Black Nanny Holding a Pale Child, 2022?, 2021
Acrylic on canvas, 85” x 57”
Oscar "Waraka" Huaracayo Villanueva ( Peruvian-American, b. in Lima) first studied graphic design before receiving his bachelor's degree in fine arts (with a painting focus) at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (2001), where he received the Critics' Award for Best Painting in 1999 and 2000. He has held individual exhibitions in Lima (Galería Cecilia González, 2010) and Takoma Park, Maryland (Art Hop, 2013). He has participated in group shows in Madrid (U.S. Ambassador's Residence, 2022-present); La Habana (Galería Triana & Usich, 2017); Copenhagen (U.S. Ambassador's Residence, 2005); San Bernardino CA (National Orange Show, 2003); Los Angeles CA(Eagle Rock Community Cultural Center, 2002); and Lima (Centro Cultural de la PUCP, 2001). As a university student, Waraka was a founding member of Los Aguaitones artists collective (Lima, 1998-2001), creating numerous human rights-related murals and other public art installations, including collaborating with Spanish artist Darya Von Berner on Lupus Viator (1999).
I was born on the seashore of Lima in a multiracial family, to a light-skinned "chola" mom from the Peruvian Andes (Huancavelica), whose first language was Quechua but who switched to castellano/Spanish when she moved to Lima for a better life, and to a dark-cobrizo "cholo" dad, also from the Andes (Puno, near Lake Titicaca). Their designation as "cholos" (a pejorative word, but used lovingly within families) based on skin color and language was made according to the system of castes imposed during the Spanish colonization of the Americas, which in turn was based on an ideology of racial "cleanliness." An individual with "stained blood" had limited rights, strictly determined by the individual's "race" or "caste." Despite no longer being as rigid as during colonial times, nor being legal, I can see that these perverse practices, linking racism and sexism, are still present today in our modern system civilization.
My pseudo-clandestinity and almost nomadic life, having lived in many countries with my wife and kids since becoming an American citizen, has impacted my perceptions of the world and even my way of making art. Each new place we move to, I am unknown and must start over. Through this experience, I feel I can better understand those affected by forced migrations. I have made my art in Copenhagen, balancing my paint strokes with my then-baby daughter Nina; Tijuana on the border with San Diego; in the bohemian district of Barranco, Lima, next to the Pacific; on a balcony overlooking a colonial neighborhood in Old Havana, where I changed mediums because of the difficulty of finding art supplies; and now in Malasaña, Madrid. My images tend to be between abstract and figurative, and my colors and techniques have changed over time, but always my active strokes make my painting a very physical activity. Due to my background in making murals with my artists collective colleagues, I feel very comfortable with large formats.
Through these lenses of decolonization and nomadism, in my art, I explore my own biography, blood, flesh, and identity. I consider myself under construction. In my art practice, I critique perceptions of beauty ideals, stereotypes, and myths, to create a dialogue between the ideas of inclusion, dignity, and subjectivity by addressing beauty in the form of people of color, making room for those who are often not included in the definition of "beauty." Most of my subjects are people of color from ordinary walks of life (myself included), and my work focuses on their stories and histories.
I believe decolonization is not only an obligation, but a personal commitment to transform this world to a better, more human place, I have two options--to live inside this system and against it, or die inside. Vive l'art!