Eduardo Sarabia, "Ballads" exhibit. (photo: Rob Scher)

Eduardo Sarabia, “Ballads” exhibit. (photo: Rob Scher)

Paper holds much value, even when it’s not green, with Franklin’s unsmiling mug on it. A recent MoMA exhibit, for instance, showed Henri Matisse’s appreciation for the potential beauty of tree pulp. Another fellow who seems to have received the memo is Mexican-based artist Eduardo Sarabia, whose most recent exhibit, “Ballads,” opens today at Other Criteria gallery in Soho.
Other Criteria’s famed owner, Damien Hirst, first noticed Sarabia’s work several years back, inviting the artist to exhibit some of his work upon opening his Soho gallery. “When the possibility for doing something came up,” Sarabia told us earlier today, “it seemed like a good space to try something different.”
“I had previously worked a lot with ceramics and blue and white motifs,” he noted. “Traveling through Oaxaca, I noticed a lot of paper craft, and from there, I got an idea.”
The idea, manifesting in a series of cut-paper diorama boxes, saw Sarabia drawing upon his ceramic work and Oaxacan inspiration, all interwoven amidst personal narratives gathered throughout his travels.
Eduardo Sarabia, "Ballads" exhibit. (photo: Rob Scher)

Eduardo Sarabia, “Ballads” exhibit. (photo: Rob Scher)

“I try to get a sense of the information from people in Mexico. With the news, you never know what’s really going on, it’s kind of nice to get a perspective from local people.”
Drawing upon imagery from these stories, the results are — tragically, like so much surrounding Mexico nowadays — centered on narco culture.
Together with the dioramas, Sarabia’s ceramics are also on display alongside a quilted tapestry, styled to resemble a spray painted “narcomantas,” which Sarabia explained the significance of. “I was reading about how the cartels were getting blamed for a lot of violence taking place in Mexico that they didn’t commit. They felt this empathy toward the people and wanted to say, ‘Wait a minute, it wasn’t us, it was those guys, we had nothing to do with it.’ So, they started putting up there own banners on the streets, usually spray painted bedsheets, just to get sympathy from the people.”
Working this concept into his tapestry, which reads “Amor, Amor, Amor,” it’s Sarabia’s hope that within his own artistic expression “a powerful message can be absorbed through this conflict.”
Eduardo Sarabia, "Ballads" exhibit. (photo: Rob Scher)

Eduardo Sarabia, “Ballads” exhibit. (photo: Rob Scher)

The ‘Ballads’ exhibition will be running from June 3rd until July 5th, 2015 at Other Criteria New York, 458 Broome Street, NYC. Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 12-6pm