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Fabian Debora Exhibiting at Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale

Fabian Debora "The Drifter in Meditation", 2023.

Incarceration to Artistic Resurrection — L.A.-based renowned muralist and hyper-realist artist Fabian Debora will be displaying his works at the acclaimed Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale, Calif. CARA De VAGO art exhibit debuts on March 2 and will extend to March 17. Entrance is free to the public. Curated by Vida Patricia Rodriguez Global Community Arts Curator & Founder of F.Y.T. Creative Arts Agency.

CARA de VAGO is a new series of thirteen works by Debora, who audaciously has formed a kinship to Caravaggio, the 17th century artist whose life trajectory extended beyond stylistic parallels.

Debora now internationally recognized and award-winning master muralist and Hyper- realist painter- during his early years spent much of his childhood in Boyle Heights and is a former gang member who has overcome battles with poverty, drug addiction and incarceration. He has successfully channeled his creative energy into creating public art and arts education programs in East Los Angeles.

Today, Debora speaks profoundly on his experiences with gang life due to complexity of traumas, lack of access to resources, and inequity as a first-generation Mexican American Chicano.

By contrast, Caravaggio was considered the “bad boy” of the world of art – constantly in trouble and even imprisoned; it is precisely his problems that make him a figure that is more relatable than other masters. Caravaggio’s troubled past, and his willingness to paint his marginalized surroundings using as models’ people in his everyday life, made him relatable to Debora.

Like Caravaggio, Debora represents those who survived under the confinements of these systemic issues, as one must decide how to survive under these pervasive social structures then and continuing today. The 80s was a decade suffering of a crack cocaine epidemic resulting in high violence, and crime. Gangs were the only refuge at the time for Debora. Amidst the darkness, Debora revered the spiritual, and religious connections he developed through prayer within this subculture, as here, he was able to see the beauty amongst those to whom the world deemed invisible. This signified hope for Fabian and his community, thus propelling Debora to unfold this story from his memories of gang life onto canvas. Beyond the similarities to Caravaggio’s life story, his style, and his iconography, Debora assumes responsibility to restore the image of the gang member back to its humanity.

Debora invites you to take a seat at his table as he brings the spiritual and religious common threads that weave our relationship to one another for a conversation as brothers and sisters navigating this journey of life and self-exploration. It is said that God lives amongst the outcast and so can you. If we are the children of God, then it is not through humanity we uncover ourselves.

Debora states: “I am moved at the gesture provided by Forest Lawn of hosting CARA de VAGO, as it affirms its place in this sanctuary, symbolic to the celebration of life and death, perfectly aligned with this narrative that we are all one of the same.”

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