For this exhibition, Talwst has refashioned his collection of Bossons heads into a contemporary version of 15th Century Italian Death masks, and has detailed them with all the modern trappings of the "Swag Rap" culture. As a child, Curtis "Talwst" Santiago's mother would bring him to flea markets where he first developed an obsession with Bossons heads; A series of hand-painted, high relief portraits, sc
ulpted from gypsum plaster and produced between 1958 and 1982. Procuring a collection of these heads, Santiago retains a nostalgic affection for them, while still questioning the Bossons' perverse sense of exoticism. As a Trinidadian-Canadian growing up in a small, predominantly Caucasian suburb of Alberta, the Bossons aesthetic—kitsch racism, dismemberment, and deranged otherness—repelled and fascinated TALWST, and still does.
With "Death of Swag" he has laid to rest his long held fascination with the exoticism of these masks while toying with mainstream aspects of hip-hop that Talwst believes the culture is moving away from. Each head has been fitted with custom 3-D resin printed shades, and TALWST has handcrafted ornate grills and jewels using gold leaf, as well as, semi-precious stones. These carefully crafted accessories embody the pervasive fashion aesthetic of "urbanized lifestyle" that has been appropriated by suburban youth all over the world; a fitting addition to the Bossons' exaggerated stereotyped faces.
Music by Fantastic Modern