When you enter the first gallery of HOME—So Different, So Appealing, you’re greeted with large letters on the wall: “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?”
The exhibition takes its title from this quote—an installation by Colombian artist Miguel Ángel Rojas, titled Nowadays, which in turn borrows the phrase from a 1956 Pop art collage by British artist Richard Hamilton. A closer look shows that the words in Rojas’s work are made not of ink or vinyl stickers, but of coca leaves: a reference to the leaves’ byproduct, cocaine.
Rojas often relates his work to issues involved with the consumption of illegal drugs. The artist hopes Nowadays inspires visitors to think of solutions for issues related to drug trafficking between Latin America and the United States. He believes that there needs to be more education around drug use, and more done to help those affected.
Many individuals in Latin America believe that first-world consumers are connected to drug-related violence in Latin America—Rojas says that the war in Colombia is a direct result of the consumption of drugs. “As a Latin American artist, I like to think of our relationship between the first world and Latin America as our home, as a territory which involves our home,” he said.
See more in “HOME—So Different, So Appealing,” on view in the Law Building through January 21.