He paints the scaffolding of the world and this skyscraper is the pinnacle of power and exploitation

Chilean-born, Montreal-based painter Rafael Sottolichio makes paintings about power, ideology and his own position as an immigrant to Canada.

'For me it's a very phallic vision of power': Rafael Sottolichio on why the Dubai skyscraper fascinates him

(CBC Arts)

Rafael Sottolichio is starting to work on an upcoming exhibition filled with his paintings. All of the works muse on the idea of "empire," defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "an extensive group of states or countries ruled over by a single monarch, an oligarchy or a sovereign state."

So why is Sottolichio spending so much time thinking about power and rule? When he was a kid in the 1970s, he moved with his family to Canada, escaping political turmoil. And still, he asserts, "These political problems — the impact of power and money and industry, the colonization of South American countries by international conglomerations and power — have had a meaning and a strong impact on my own biography."

Watch the video:

Chilean-born, Montreal-based Rafael Sottolichio explains why his new series of paintings is all about empire. Filmmaker: Pablo Aravena 5:32

Sottolichio's new series about empire centres on the motif of a skyscraper. For the artist, the work it takes to erect these massive monoliths is itself an expression of power — who owns the building, who uses it and the invisible workers who toil at night to make it happen.

In this video, Sottolichio opens up about how his past as a refugee has had an impact on his life and art, as he works on his new series of paintings in his home studio (and he takes a little break to attend an asado).

(Rafael Sottolichio)
(Rafael Sottolichio)
(Rafael Sottolichio)

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