"Madonna Nera di Viggiano version orné"
50x70cm Acrylic on canvas 2018

The Madonna Nera of Viggiano is the Virgin Patron of the whole Basilicata region. The Basilicata is one of the most conservative and deep rooted regions of Italy where tradition, religion and closed to the outside world type of life can be appreciated. It does have its paradoxes such as the fact that the Madonna is BLACK at the same time that this region is very closed to foreigners and rampant xenophobia. Rodrigo stands in marked difference with inward looking specific cultures but as an artist he had no problem in co-opting and getting inspired by local symbols such as the Madonna Nera. He decided to use this dichotomy and differences in an effort to unite his experience of the world with the very local culture, the "Madonna Nera - version orné" does that, The stencil black & white image represents modernity and simplicity, whereas the golden work around it represents complexity of simplicity. The effect is a strong integrated contrast where both forms reinforce each other.

Rodrigo's father and mother giving a version of "The Madonna Nera of Viggiano" to the Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra at the Vatican. 2018

The Italo-Venezuelan artist Rodrigo Figueredo, internationally recognized for his libertarian art and militancy in favor of human rights that has been residing in Val D'Agri for 4 years now, took his version of the "Madonna Nera del Sacro Monte di Viggiano" to Vatican and placed it in the hands of Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, third in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Despite that Rodrigo only has an indirect relationship to the Lucania, which lies in his blood given the fact that his grandparents were both Italian emigrants from in-between the  two wars that went to Venezuela in South America in search of a better future, he decided to create his work taking into account the traditional regional symbol and culture that is the "Madonna Nera" reinterpreting it in a modern way through the canons and the contemporary avant-garde art form.

The Madonna Nera de Rodrigo was greatly appreciated by the Arsobispo Edgar Peña Parra who did not know the Lucania and the artist tells us that it is "an honor to contribute to make known the region of my past pasts, despite being backward and hostile to change, innovation and difference, in the highest spheres of the world. " That said, it also ends up telling us, not without irony, that "it still hopes that some local public, cultural, administrative as well as religious, appreciate the efforts of a" foreigner "who contributes much more to the locality than what is recognized . "

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