At Imitate Modern, we are passionate about supporting well-known and emerging artists from across the globe to thrive in London. We champion our artists and love helping them connect with passionate buyers who can appreciate their work. We are also equally passionate about highlighting other artists’ stories that we think our readers will enjoy learning about. Therefore, in this post, we will explore some famous and arising Latin American artists we believe you should get to know.
Famous Latin American Painters
Frida Kahlo has become a household name in many art-loving families. She was born in Mexico and became a feminist icon using her colourful artwork to express herself. Her paintings after often self-portraits that show her struggles to cope with illness and accidents throughout her childhood.
Sadly, Kahlo died in 1954 at the age of just 47. However, her legacy lives on through her surrealist paintings.
Surrealist and Cubist painter Wilfredo Lam was born in a small village in Cuba. However, he is best known for his work outside of Latin America. He travelled while capturing paintings with a dark and foreboding feel.
Lam also met with Pablo Picasso in Paris during his career to study. This experience encouraged Lam to use his unique upbringing and Caribbean culture in his work. Lam returned to Cuba in World War II.
Environmentally focussed artist Tony Capellán uses his painting and printmaking background to explore themes of environmental destruction and socioeconomic hardships. Tony uses the ocean as a core subject in much of his work to display the problem of rubbish in the seas and compare this relationship to human issues of slavery, poverty etc.
Latin American Photographers
Nana Del Riego
Nana del Riego is a Cuban artist, and coincidentally, she is also one of our featured photographers at Imitate Modern.
Del Riego uses self-portraits, colour, and animals to explore themes of femininity and reduce stereotypes of the female body. She uses her uncommon background of growing up in Havana, Cuba, outside the Western world, to explore her art uniquely and portray a feeling of life while also being trapped in her movements.
You can learn more about Del Riego in our previous post, Cuban artists everyone should know about.
Contemporary Latin American photographer, Paz Errázuriz, used her skills to document Chile when it was under a dictatorship in the 1970s. Her work helps capture the stories of oppressed groups of people, including sex workers and circus performers. She is a brave artist who went into restricted areas so she could find scenes that other female photographers could not have captured.
Her work is said to ‘encourage people to dare to look’, which means that Paz will bring topics to the forefront of society’s discussion when others choose to ignore them.
Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Lopez
Photojournalist Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Lopez is a significant figure who captured Mexico’s socio-political events in the 1950s when his country searched for more national identity.
He uses his photography skills to capture images of the working class and indigenous populations and other urban life scenes. Nacho shied away from focussing on elite celebrities and became renowned for capturing ‘true Mexico’ when others focused on more well-known figures.
Guatemalan-born photographer Daniel Hernández-Salazar has preserved a time in history. He used photography to capture Guatemala’s 36-year-long civil war and the aftermath of this event. He makes the viewer empathise with the people in the photographs as he doesn’t shy away from capturing the horrors of the war and the violence that followed.
Other Latin American Artists
In her artwork, Salcedo is best known for capturing genocide, trauma, racism, and colonialism in Columbia. She uses different mediums, such as furniture and clothing, to capture her subject emotions and experiences. Her sculpture pieces use these household items to create something new with a charged meaning.
Who are the most famous Latin American artists?
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Wilfredo Lam and Roberto Matta are among the most famous artists from Central and South America.
How can I find more Latin American artists?
According to Google, the most Famous Latin painters, photographers, sculptors, and artists not already mentioned in our article include:
- Fernando Botero
- Diego Rivera
- Ana Mendieta
- Rufino Tamayo
- Clemencia Lucean
- Marta Minujín
- Feliciano Centurión
Although other articles and Google can be a great place to start your hunt for interesting artists whose work you resonate with and whose stories interest you, it can be a skewed list of artists. This bias generally occurs when lists include predominantly male artists. However, it is possible to find countless females in this space who have documented history and used their creativity to show intense themes in their work. Although the bias of recommending predominantly male artists isn’t as present here as in other areas of art history, it’s certainly something to be aware of when researching.
What are the most famous Latin American paintings?
The painting ‘Dos Fridas’ by Frida Kahlo is among one of the most famous Latin American paintings. However, there are also a number of works by other Latin American and Hispanic artists, such as Pablo Picasso, that are well recognised across the global market.
Hopefully, you now feel more acquainted with some Latin American artists, including Nana del Riego, who is among the represented contemporary photographers at Imitate Modern.
To further your reading, we also have articles on the Imitate Modern diary, including artist profiles on famous South American artists. In particular, we have done a spotlight piece on one of the artists represented by Imitate Modern: Romero Britto, a Brazillian visual artist who uses colour to explore themes of fun, love, and happiness.