Manuel Palacio with his work I Hate White People. *Photo by Raymond Hainey
Manuel Palacio with his work I Hate White People. *Photo by Raymond Hainey

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12: Controversial artist Manuel Palacio is set to break more taboos with a work entitled Sex with Mother to be shown at a joint exhibition opening today.

The work — in mixed media and plastic — will be on show at Hamilton’s Rock Island Coffee tonight as part of the Not Your Nana’s Art Show, which showcases the work of local artists.

It also features the lyrics of the Macy Gray song I Try, about a tortured relationship.

Mr Palacio said: “I want to explore family relationships and how the relationship with mothers affects future development and why we love or hate things.

“It’s about how childhood influences decisions and how it makes people what they are.”

The work will also feature in Mr Palacio’s next exhibition — to be titled Love Crime.

Mr Palacio said: “It’s about going back to your childhood to find out why people sometimes need to be in a desperate relationship. It is controversial, but it’s the job of an artist to get people thinking.”

Mr Palacio — whose Black Apartheid exhibition at Hamilton’s  City Hall has been extended for another three weeks — said art played a major role in challenging perceptions and improving society.

His Black Apartheid exhibition — which features paintings of prominent black PLP members with fair hair and blue eyes and former Premier Dr Ewart Brown as 1980s movie mobster Scarface — has been a major talking point on the island.

Mr Palacio said the show is  designed to highlight racial prejudice on the island and the use of racial issues as “an excuse” to avoid dealing with problems.

It was sparked by the decision by Government to award a commission to an overseas artist to create a sculpture of the late Dame Lois Browne Evans.

Mr Palacio said: “To go abroad to get an artist is ridiculous when there is so much talent on the island.

“I wasn’t surprised by the reaction to Black Apartheid — as an artist, I wanted attention and as much shock value as possible because otherwise people won’t pay attention.

“But it wasn’t shock for shock’s sake — this is what’s going on, so we shouldn’t try to sugar
coat it.”

Nicaraguan-born Mr Palacio, 45, whose family moved the US when he was a child, has worked and taught art in Bermuda for around two decades.

The graduate of the prestigious Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore said: “Art should definitely be incorporated more into our society.

“We have a national gallery and it’s excellent — we should be using that to make art an integral part of our society.

“Artists need to work in the community and help create a vibrant place to work in and encourage people to talk about what Bermuda is.

“We give tax breaks to all sorts of companies — we should be giving tax exemptions to local artists too. Art is incredibly important to a culture and we should do more to recognise that.

“I walk into some offices and there’s art on the walls which says nothing about Bermuda. People should look at their walls and ask themselves if there’s anything local there. Art needs to be supported, but it’s not being supported at all.”

“Artists are not really part of the fabric of society here and Bermuda suffers as a result of that.”