Ropa Sucia – Photo Exhibit

February 8, 2018 - March 4, 2018

At The Jean Deleage Gallery at CASA 0101

Set against the gritty background of Los Angeles, this collection of self-portraits are an intimate and imaginative look into the inner selves. Spanning several mediums and personas, colorful outfits activate characters that defy reality, creating a parallel universe that is magical; that is external and internal, that blurs the line between visibility and invisibility. The tangible and intangible hang side by side, painting a picture of a queer brown experience that is, as the artist calls it, “magical realism in the hood.
FREE ADMISSION | Gallery Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM, Monday – Friday
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 8, 2018 from 6 – 9 PM | Closing Reception: Sunday, March 4, 2018 from 1 – 3 PM
Curator’s Statement:

Rolando Rodriguez’s photography exhibition Ropa Sucia is a two part theatrical exposure inspired by magical realism literature. It is a play of words and ideas. His trident exhibit consisting of video, an installation and photography that brings multiple approaches to his creative process. Ropa Sucia (dirty laundry) is a journey into Rodriguez’s rite of passage which through the language of clothes and photography he attempts to discover the meaning of identity and his history.
The fictional character in his images is Rodriguez himself. The invention of his characters is Rodriguez’s way of mediating between the real and the magical. In this body of work he expresses his desires, dreams, and struggles. The installing for this exhibit is chronological. He starts with what can be interpreted as images of the self displaying subliminal colorful messages of breaking away, of his childhood in South Central Los Angeles, his family’s Diaspora experience from El Salvador to the United States and what it means to be a young Latino queer. There is loneliness in his quest which through time will reshape his view of life.
The suspended clothes installation not only does it accompanies the images but reveals his duality between his femininity and his body. Through clothing Rodriguez makes a poignant statement: the language of clothes has social, gender, and political connotations.
His video installation of two TV monitors play two of his short films, one is a playful examination of the self in New York. The second film is the revelation of the dark and mysterious when all is unknown and unchartered.
Colorful with intricate organic patterns Rodriguez guides the viewer with meanings that changes between (Ropa Sucia) dirty laundry and Guerra sucia (dirty war). His last act that begins from a single subject of conversation on identity now begins to shape questions on his family origins from El Salvador.
The loneliness of the first act begins to transition from the single person and shifts to include intimate portraits of friends and family members and the historical references to the dirty war of 1932 against Indigenous communities of workers and farmers. This reference is known as the 1932 massacre in El Salvador. Through his research clothing in particularly for the peasants would acquire political consequences. To continue to wear traditional indigenous clothing meant government persecution and possible death. Many decide to no longer wear any traditional clothes and replace them with western modern garments. Rodriguez cloth line is charged with a pulsing note that unveils the bleaching out of history El Salvador’s native indigenous roots.
Upon closer examination two containers one a fabric softener and a bleach container elude to the whitening of culture via colonization and the U.S sponsored terror during El Salvador’s civil war on the general population. This last phase brings Rodriquez’s consciousness discovery of; the I as the other and the others as I.
Jimmy Centeno
February 8, 2018


Rolando Rodriguez is a Los Angeles-based artist who has written stories about the immigrant community of South Central Los Angeles, where he was born and raised. As a designer, he has worked on several stage, feature film and television show productions. His directorial short film work has screened at Outfest Los Angeles and his theatrical written work has been performed at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he studied Architecture.

Location: The Jean Deleage Gallery at CASA 0101

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