by Ariadna Zierold
Jorge Santos spent his childhood in Luanda, Angola on the coast of Africa. In 1975, Angola exploded in the violent political turmoil of decolonization forcing Santos’ family to flee the country. At the formative age of 16, Santos found himself thrust into the equally turbulent and unknown culture of Lisbon, Portugal, as that country slid into its own revolution. The national struggle paralleled Santos’ own personal one and fueled his passion for drawing. At this early stage, pencil drawing, the most simple and direct form of expression, perfectly suited his complicated and dramatic images and expressed his unique vision.
His paintings often feature a slightly exaggerated or disjointed perspective, such that they appear to float on top of the background. The paintings’ subjects are frequently allegorical, with ironic or humorous undertones. Santos exclusively used black-and-white until 1990, when he introduced a limited color palette in his works; in 2000, he dramatically changed his approach to color again, favoring vivid hues.