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I’ve long been a fan of Redding artist Armando. He paints with bold, rich colors. He doesn’t shy away from difficult and challenging subjects.
His current project, “In the House of Sin,” continues that brave expression.
On Sept. 13, Armando held a one-night public exhibition of this show at his home as a fundraiser for the Shasta County Arts Council. Now he’s placed the exhibit on his website, and it’s a fascinating selection of images and stories.
The project has been a year in the works. Armando created an online confessional where people from around the world wrote about their darkest, often very troubling, secrets. He painted his interpretation of those stories.
I would venture that everyone has something they’ve done or experienced in life that continues to cause them pain. We are imperfect beings who make mistakes. Some of the confessions offered in the show may seem a bit shocking (the exhibit is intended for mature audiences), but I think these kinds of stories are more commonplace than they are oddities.
Personally, I found that reading the confessions and viewing Armando’s work was cathartic. Sometimes it’s a powerful concept to be reminded that we’re all flawed humans struggling through this life as best we can. I often look around at the masses of people around me and think, “We’re all broken, aren’t we?” We all need compassion.
This is also the great thing about art. Whether it be painting, writing, songs, dance or whatever, there’s an avenue to express the the pain and actually create some beauty.
Armando himself shares some of the darkness of his past. A key concept of his confession is the acknowledgment that he’s thankful he’s still here to create. When we travel through very painful chapters of our lives, it’s important to remember that clouds will eventually clear.
There’s a line from a Bob Marley song that goes, “Every man thinks that his burden is the heaviest. He feels it knows it, Lord.”
We all have burdens. It’s how we walk through them that’s the more important thing.