Gustavo Esquina de la Espada

Gustavo Esquina

Esquina de la Espada, Gustavo
Visual Artist, Comparsa Barrio Fino band member, Congo Practitioner, and Digital Portobelo Team Member

Artist, musician, and poet, Gustavo Esquina is the third eldest son of Yaneca Esquina, co-founder of Taller Portobelo, the painting workshop of the Congo artists. While Gustavo works on an array of themes in his visual art, a large body of his work deals with depicting Congo kings and queens from previous generations. Like his father, Gustavo has forged new aesthetic terrain. His fascination with the past has led him to create narrative paintings that investigate the lives and conditions of his ancestors, the cimarrones. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including shows in Spain and the US. In 2013, Gustavo was one of five winners of the “RADAR” contest sponsored by the Panama Contemporary Art Museum. In addition to preserving the Congo traditions through his paintings, Gustavo is active in Congo culture through his participation in Congo carnival performances and in the broader community through his participation in a band called Comparsa Barrio Fino. Since 2003, Gustavo has worked closely with the primary researcher to help translate her questions culturally as well as linguistically, co-facilitated several interview, and has served as the principal transcriber for the work presented on this site. He has taught art as a visiting artist at Spelman College as part of the Spelman College International Exchange program as well as served as a vital collaborator with the Spelman Summer Art Colony and Creative Currents Arts Collective.