Artist Tony Vazquez-Figueroa has researched the theme of Modernism in Latin America for over a decade, studying its origins and influences both positive and negative on the local population and its aesthetic. Most explicitly, he confronts the issue in Venezuela and how oil was and continues to be a crucial element that shapes this crisis-ridden society to this very day.
Venezuela is a land dependent on its oil fields. It was one of the largest exporters of oil and is home to the world’s largest oil reserves.
In the late 1940s and ’50s, Venezuela reaped the benefits of this almighty abundance, embarking on astonishing developmental projects including infrastructure, hotels, and shopping malls, all financed by oil, with the sole purpose to make Venezuela “Modern”. In tandem with this meteoric accent in wealth came a time of political constraint and widespread restrictions on its people’s rights and freedoms.