YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Capicu is a term known by many people of Puerto Rican culture. Cleveland-based artist Orlando Caraballo captures that culture in his McDonough Museum art exhibit.
“It’s the word for chapter, so this idea of the show being somewhat of a chapter, a book end of a chapter, both the opening and the closing of a certain period of my life,” he said.
But the word has another meaning as well.
“Capicu is also a term in the Puerto Rican game of dominoes… When you achieve a capicu, it’s essentially this idea where you and your partner are playing the board strategically, so that you or your partner have the ability to close out a game… So the idea of that in relationship with this show is that it’s all about strategy, it’s all about being able to respond to what’s happening in your life,” he said.
Caraballo’s exhibit reflects the complexities of his personal, familial and cultural systems. It captures many traditions of Puerto Rican culture such as religious pieces and traditional foods, and even photos he was able to collect from members of his own family.
“A lot of these events that I’m focusing on, by combining drawing, printmaking, photography from my family, familiar objects, it’s really about utilizing all of these different components, strategically, in order to make meaning and new stories,” he said.
He says family is at the root of it all.
“There’s unity in my grandfather and my mom and two uncles and, you know, and there’s also unity here where we’re playing in the sand. There’s something about being together in certain places that really hits that point home,” he said.
Caraballo says he wants this exhibit to be more than just a display, but an opportunity for people to step into a world and become a part of it.
“A part of it is, not only being able to witness pieces of like, an individual who’s a part of a culture, this larger system, but it’s also being able to engage with it and be inside of it and learn from it,” he said.
Caraballo is the McDonough Emerging Artist this fall. His exhibit will be on display at the Judith Solomon Gallery in Bliss Hall from September 12 – October 7.