Charles Bukowski once wrote, “can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?” Since time immemorial, society has been dictating its own rules and set up its very own definition of normativity, therefore creating a border between those who fit and those who don’t. The world has been giving birth to outcasts for centuries. And today is no exception; one is cast out based on their religion, their gender, their sexual orientation, their views on the world, or their lifestyle.
As a gay man, Canadian artist Andrew Salgado has always felt that rejection and even experienced it in the most brutal way possible, when he fell victim to a hate crime at a music festival in Canada in 2008. The young man was then left toothless and unconscious. “Something like that shapes you forever…” he says. “But it’s how you process and move on from it where you find the silver lining.” After the incident, Andrew found in art a way to exteriorize his painful experience. “In art school, we often spoke about how art was a weapon, but I never really realized what that meant until something happened to me”, he explains. “I became anchored. I had something to talk about. Oddly enough, it made my career. As people, we have a natural tendency towards catharsis and convalescence.” Indeed, the works that followed, such as Bloody Faggot, were mostly self-portraits showing him completely wrecked.
Today, he’s moved on from this past hurt and is sending all minorities and outcasts a powerful, hopeful, and healing message through his first London solo show in two years, The Snake, opening at Beers London on November 11, 2016. “For me, the title came about as a reference to change. How I, as an artist and person, saw myself as shedding my former skin and moving into something new. So, I suppose that is re-birth”, Andrew explains.