CAMINOS AND PASSAGES
Raoul De la Sota
Artist, Educator and Collector
October 8-November 1, 2018
Reception:Thursday, October 11, 7-9 p.m.
Gallery talk: Tuesday, October 16, at 1 p.m.
El Camino College Art Gallery is proud to present a broad range of the vibrant artwork
and a small sampling of the collections of Raoul De la Sota. De la Sota is one of
Los Angeles’ most important contributors to the recognition of Latino American artwork,
simultaneously through his own prodigious artistic career and through his generous
teaching and curating throughout the past six decades in this city.
Born in Los Angeles into a bilingual family with English as his second language, the
artist was raised and educated, in part, by his grandmother whose roots were in the
Tarahumara culture of Chihuahua, Mexico. She enriched his early life with primeval
tales from the culture of her own childhood, giving De la Sota a life-long love of
indigenous traditions and respect for their mythological/mystical approach to the
Among the series or passages presented in this exhibition are acrylic paintings of
intense cosmological images in which native spirits fly over dark mountain ranges,
depicting the origins of life according to the ancients. These works, as well as
others in the exhibit, are accompanied by folk art objects from the collection of
Raoul and his wife, Leticia De la Sota, which reflect the intimate link in sensibility
between that which the artist creates and that which he admires and collects.
As a child, De la Sota suffered from asthma which led not only to an early life of
home-schooling but also to healing trips to the Sonoran Desert and the Sierras of
California. This atmosphere proved to be not only physically restorative but deeply
resonant with the artist’s psyche, fueling the impetus for artwork throughout his
Caminos and Passages presents a fascinating range of the artist’s landscapes and studies, from 1965-2018,
done in a wide variety of media including acrylic and oil painting, pen and ink drawing,
water color, fabric collage, printmaking, wood and metal sculpture, assemblage and
mixed media construction. Many of these works are influenced by De la Sota’s travels
that have taken him to the far corners of the world. While occasionally figurative
De la Sota, always fascinated by earth and sky, returns to his original source.
His boldly expressive Cacti series of paintings utilize the agave plant as a metaphor for the vital beauty and
strength of the people of Mexico, while his poly-chrome, three-dimensional wooden
nopal cactus pieces often depict struggle in socio/political arenas.
In addition to folk art objects from the De la Sota collection, Caminos and Passages recognizes the artistic works of several of his former students, who are now fully
developed artists in their own right. These valued connections formed during Raoul’s
years as art historian, gallery director and painting instructor at Los Angeles City
College. The work by this group of former students is a tiny portion of the enormous
collection of artworks that cover the walls in the De la Sota’s home.
Please join El Camino College Art Gallery in celebrating the life and works of Raoul
De la Sota in Caminos and Passages, from October 8-November 1.
Raoul De la Sota, Mictlan Journey;
Acrylic on Canvas; 54" x 54"
Raoul De la Sota; The Raven Speaks;
Acrylic on canvas; 60x72"; 2010
Raoul De la Sota; Cactus Pair;
Oil pastel on paper; 20x26"; 1996
from the Collection of Raoul De la Sota;
Ex-Voto I; Oil on tin; 9x7"
Raoul De la Sota; Hibiscus; Acrylic on canvas; 48x48"; 1973