Artist to unveil Trayvon Martin-inspired collection of large portraits on Nov. 15

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Continuing the dialogue post-Trayvon Martin

Continuing the dialogue post-Trayvon Martin

Chicago-based fine artist and social activist Cesar Conde will exhibit his newest collection “In The Hood – Portraits of African American Professionals Wearing a Hoodie” at 33 Contemporary Gallery at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago from November 15 to December 14, 2013.

“In The Hood” is a project of large-scale portraits done in Technique Mixte of African American professionals, male and female, wearing a “hoodie.” The project is aimed at continuing the dialogue on “perceptions versus reality,” race relations, stigmas, images, stereotypes, and generalizations, Conde said in a statement.

This project was inspired by the tragedy of the 17-year-old African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed last year while wearing a hoodie in a Florida neighborhood.

“Not until we see each other beyond ‘the Hood’ and into ‘Humanity, can we perhaps achieve peace and erase color lines,” said Conde of his passion for this project.

Philippine-born Conde was raised in Seattle, and has been a resident of Chicago for 22 years. He studied “Technique Mixte” with Maestro Patrick Betaudier in his atelier in Monflanquin, France.

“I learned to draw at Angel Academy of Art in Florence under Maestro John Michael Angel who apprenticed with Pietro Annigoni,” he writes on his website.

An accident in 1997 put him on a path toward the direction of art with a social conscience.

According to his website: “It was winter of 1997, I fell down the stairs and broke the hand I use to paint. The night before surgery before placing screws to connect the broken bones, God spoke to me, ‘You have to paint.’ The next day, I was being prepped for the procedure. The doctor took the splinters off and asked me to move my right hand and form a fist. My hand followed his command and succeeded. He was baffled. He took an x-ray. The overlapping bones were back in place. He declared he has never seen this before. It was impossible. I knew otherwise. A miracle. It was possible. From the time I left the hospital, my right hand never stopped moving.”

Conde said his body of work is a reflection of his own experience, a collection of photo documents—time pieces stamped on film, paper, and then canvas—which exemplify his driving motivation to raise social consciousness and action. He has exhibited at the Museo Regionali di Scienze Naturali de Torino, Italy and Institute of Culture of Baja, California and Mexico.

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