Claudio Dicochea, ‘de una Diosa y Marcos, el doble agente (of a Goddess and Marcos, the double agent)’, 2010, Lisa Sette Gallery

About Claudio Dicochea

Claudio Dichochea is best known for his contemporary take on “casta” (caste) paintings, a genre popularized in 18th-century colonial Mexico that was intended to record the new phenomenon of racial mixing in the New World. These portraits captured families arranged in sets from lightest-skinned (Spaniards) to darkest-skinned (African slaves and conquered Native Americans) reflecting the social hierarchy imposed by Spain on colonial society. In the same vein, Dichochea’s work explores, in his words, “how genealogy, sexual desire and poverty affect our own structuring of identity.” He bases each painting on an original casta, but replaces the original personages with archetypes from popular media, comics, and world history. He also inverts the Spanish convention of depicting a white man with a dark-skinned woman, raising questions about how the child of two stereotyped parents is to be perceived.

Mexican, San Luis Rio, Colorao