There’s art that makes you stop and look and then there’s art that makes you stop and feel something. Anthony Pabillano’s work did both as soon as I walked past it hanging in The Silos, one of Houston’s largest art studios.
Equal parts beauty and power, that piece was entitled “Complexion” and in the artist’s own words:
“My outlook in life and art tends to be celebratory and positive in nature but when I sense that voices are being muffled and pursuits of individuality are being obstructed, I react and my art begins to be a channel through which I express my disappointment. This piece is an example of just that. This piece is my reaction to the repeal of DACA late last year, and the overall isolistic wave of negative rhetoric against immigrants that’s washing over our society right now.
In rendering the image of a single individual multiple times, stripped of all defining characteristics except the color of his skin, I want to challenge the viewer if he or she could opine on the particular individuals on the piece. My ideal hope is that the viewer could not, but as we know, the ideal is never the reality. In the case that the viewer develops opinions about particular individuals on the piece by simply being provided a single data point, I hope that by reflecting further that they would be able to put into perspective how complexion affects how they approach people. Thus, my overall goal for this piece is for the viewers to be aware and be self-conscious of biases that they may have on complexion (and beyond), and engage themselves in paths of self-discovery towards determining that one or a few superficial attributes could never be indicative of any one’s personality and individuality.”