Francisco Gordillo Arredondo was born in Havana, Cuba in 1964 where he still lives. He was educated at the Academia de Bellas Artes s de San Alejandro in 1988. He has had numerous solo and Group exhibitions over the years and has received several prizes for his artistic work, including the1st prize in the Wifredo Lam Contest in Havana back in 2004.
Francisco Gordillo Arredondo has been described as `a mediator between two worlds`, by Dr Ivor Millor from Depaul University in Chicago. He further writes: Francisco Gordillo Arredondo has assumed responsibility for revisioning the presence of Africa in Cuba. As a descendant of Kongo founders and Santeria practitioners, Gordillo has translated his personal vision of his family inheritance into his paintinhs. This cutural treasure is at the same time part oft his collective mythology and memory of Cuba´s African.
Seen through the eyes of Francisco “Gordillo” Arredondo, an internationally acclaimed artist and a priest initiated into the Afrocuban religion of Santería, these paintings present a personal vision blending his Congo and Yoruba inheritance with his contemporary Cuban experience. His paintings embody a mythology that simultaneously celebrates Cuba’s rich African spiritual legacy while divulging the island’s subterranean mysticism.
Inspired by folkloric legends of the orishas, Gordillo portrays divinities as intermediaries between an earthly presence and spiritual transcendence. Popular orishas like Shango and Echu are portrayed and their significance is explained by text panels. Gordillo’s stylistic interpretation, a powerful blending of expressionism and surrealism, reinforces the mystical, visionary and healing elements inherent in Santería and the cult of the orishas.
In my painting I superimpose cultures, I mix elements Yoruba with Bantu, representing by means of their simbologías, synthesis of their rites; relying on the signs and elements rituals. In many occasions my works reflect facts and histories that spring from my imagination, accompanied by fantasy, that which is not very far from being reality. I don’t want to paint to the fact in if, but to the concept, for that reason I believe that everything is inside me. In my non alone Works they are reflected the unions of these two cultures, but also those motivations that are in match with my means and my existence, since were educated inside African origin traditions. Therefore, it is a commitment with myself. The works have more than enough paper, Bristol board and cloth they are made using the combined technique, with oils, you tint, acrylic, oil cake and waxes in some cases. The color uses it as symbols, in other, according to what I want to express, either a feeling, an emotion, a form, or representations of deities and ceremonies. The color also helps me to balance the composition, to control the light and the shade, to highlight the gradation of shades, their brightness or their strong contrast. The space varies according to the reason that I express; I use the whole space, making participates him of the work, to give a bigger interest and enrichment to the composition. Something similar it happens in the rituals and ceremonies, where the most minimum detail he/she has an enormous importance. The textures use them to highlight the expressive fields of the composition, exploding the qualities characteristic of the materials; highlighting the plastic values of the surface created; taking advantage of them to create transparencies in the figures. In the composition you they can observe varieties in ways and elements that possess other setups inside them.
I use concrete and specific forms inside realities that you/they come being conformed for big areas of colors, specific forms that coexist and they make coexist to this realities.