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Samuel Sarmiento, Sin título (danza de culebras), 2020, mixed media on canvas, 210x165cm.

Danza de las culebras or Dance of the Snakes is a work Sarmiento produced in his studio in Aruba. The colors and brushstrokes reference the Aruban landscape: the aqua tones of the water surrounding the golden arid terrain and the roughness of the desert scenery. The work also references deities of nature in different cultures.

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The work focuses on three dancing figures accompanied by two thick snakes, that seem to be celebrating their last feast.

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The figure to the left, all in orange, references female deities that are related to (human) nature. It could be a representation of Hera, the goddess of the underworld in Greek mythology, dancing into the mortal realm and leaving her pain and sorrow behind. It could be Kali, the Hindu goddess that, just like nature, has its destructive side and its generous side.

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The largest figure, in the center with blue hues, is lying to us. She hides her face behind a mask that shows us a calm demeanor. What she is hiding behind her mask, we don't know. But the dark tones in her neck and cape, the seemingly translucid clothing, and the colorful skirt at the bottom create ambiguities. 

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The last figure to the right is an anonymous dancer. With elegance, she dances with her partner, the snake on her. She partially blends with her surroundings, dancing to a tune we can't hear but maybe feel. Her clothing contrasts in color with the snake but mimics the patterns of the snake's skin.

Text and design: Ana Maria Hernandez

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