Che Guevara & Victor Castillo in Milan

Camilo Guevara March, the 60-year old son of Argentine-born revolutionary leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara, has died few days ago in the month of August 2022. This event takes my memory to the time shared with him in Milan back in 2017, when we met for the Tu y Todos exhibition organized by the the Centre of Che Guevara Studies in the Cuban capital, Havana he led.

On that occasion I was asked to select and organize the art performance of a latin urban artist. I selected Victor Castillo and this following was my critic motivation:

Graffiti, street art, first as the sign, then as the art, manifest themselves, without being commissioned, in public spaces of the world’s cities. Works are imposed on spectators who have not chosen to encounter or look at them. The artists conquer an exhibition space which they have often seen denied by institutions.

It is a form rebellion, sometimes democratic and constructive, sometimes despotic and egotistic, but always active. Some of the activists who traced this public path have now found their place in the context of contemporary art and its market. This is the case for the man and artist Victor Castillo.

His childhood experience was within a Chile divided by the shadows of a recent past, by the bloodshed of a murderous dictatorship, by the deeds of men, colonels, intellectuals, and guerrillas, who, standing on the thin line between martyrs and heroes, laid the foundations of modern South America in the name of their ideals. A continent torn between two systems. Sharp values that divide not just states, but students, parents from their children, neighborhoods, and families. Che Guevara.

An ideological flash, the icon of action that frees minds and peoples from a petty, structural, systemic oppression. Che Guevara, beyond human events, is part of the creative energy that animates the creations of this Chilean Artist. The icon of Che is the living soul of the creative torment, the sublime aspiration and of the scornful sarcasm that Castillo manages to animate in the contents and atmospheres of a restless unconscious.

Lodovico Minelli Sarteri, Milan 2017

This was the mural painted for the exhibition, and few back-stage pictures in the making of. A fine-art print of a famous Victor Castillo’s artwork was also commissioned and gifted in limited signed serie to selected references of the Centre of Che Guevara Studies.

I also preserve charming memories of those days since when good vibes are shared than serendipity completes the work. That’s why José Parlá the artist of Cuban origins was having his vernissage in Milan the same night. It was a nice opportunity to meet him and Marc Fraser Cooke again after the time spent in Tokyo. After all those inspiring encounters we chose for a family and friends dinner at a local Sicilian restaurant.