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Venezuelan folklore, hope and decay are the focus of a new art exhibition in Surry Hills.

It's difficult to imagine how an art exhibition focusing on Venezuela could be anything but a documentation of carnage. With one of the highest murder rates in the world, a hyper-inflated economy and police guarding the scant food rations, Venezuela today is the battered remnant of Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution.

Venezuelan-born Sydney artist Nadia Hernandez saw all of this in a recent trip back to her homeland — but she also saw coffee vendors on the street, beautiful mountains, and people protesting against corruption and rising crime. The vision of Venezuela that she depicts is one where hope and decay compete in equal measure.

Her latest exhibition, Cosas Antes y Despues (Things Before and After), is a combination of painting, collage, craft and text. "My work is about finding oneself through folklore in order to call for reflection, solidarity and union," says Hernandez. The exhibition, a Mild Manners project, is squirrelled away in an improvised gallery space on Devonshire street in Surry Hills. It may take a bit of Google-mapping  to get there, but the reward is a glimpse of a Venezuela that doesn't often make the headlines.

Image: Kurt Davis.

Published on March 25, 2017 by Matt Abotomey

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