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Art Gallery presenting ‘Caminos and Passages’ exhibit by Raoul De la Sota

Raoul+De+la+Sota%2C+81%2C+in+front+of+one+of+his+favorite+pieces+in+the+art+gallery%2C+The+Mexican+and+the+Camino+Photo+credit%3A+Alexa+Kinoshita
Raoul De la Sota, 81, in front of one of his favorite pieces in the art gallery, The Mexican and the Camino Photo credit: Alexa Kinoshita

Raoul De la Sota, 81, in front of one of his favorite pieces in the art gallery, The Mexican and the Camino Photo credit: Alexa Kinoshita

Raoul De la Sota, 81, in front of one of his favorite pieces in the art gallery, The Mexican and the Camino Photo credit: Alexa Kinoshita

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Listening to the radio and drawing was the one thing a young boy with asthma could enjoy in the 1940’s.

Since playing outside made him feel easily exhausted, the young Raoul De la Sota found a distraction elsewhere.

Eager to explore the world around him, his journey into art began when his mother and grandmother would drive him to the mountains and deserts to escape the city and breathe in the clean air.

“And that was where I began to love nature. Because of that,” De la Sota said.

The 81-year-old artist embraced the culture his grandmother would tell stories about, from the early days of her childhood in Chihuahua, Mexico.

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Artist Raoul De la Sota talks about his works at the ECC Art Gallery on Tuesday, Oct. 16. His exhibit “Caminos and Passages” can be viewed from Oct. 8 to Nov. 1. (Jack Kan/Union) Photo credit: Jack Kan

His art celebrates his Latino American heritage in the various works he has created in his exhibit, “Caminos and Passages.”

“Because Raoul is bilingual, I wanted to make sure that the title was in both English and Spanish,” art gallery director and curator, Susanna Meiers, said. “And it really has to do with the roads that one takes, so there are passages in life, but there are also roads that one takes to actually pass through in life.”

The exhibit will be hosted from Tuesday, Oct. 8 to Thursday, Nov.1 at the EC Art Gallery, where his art, ranging from acrylics on canvas or wood to elaborate material collages, will be displayed to all students and will also be open to the public.

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Artist Raoul De la Sota talks about his works at the ECC Art Gallery on Tuesday, Oct. 16. His exhibit “Caminos and Passages” can be viewed from Oct. 8 to Nov. 1. (Jack Kan/Union) Photo credit: Jack Kan

At his gallery talk, hosted at EC on Tuesday, Oct. 16, the room was filled with visiting art enthusiasts of all ages to witness the stories that encircled his creations.

Around the room, De la Sota explained his love for the natural world through the various art forms of nature he incorporated into almost every piece of his work.

His favorite in the gallery, The Mexican and the Camino, was inspired by true events of his wife who walked 400 miles along the Camino pilgrimage road in Spain.

“When she walked, she realized that her parents, that were deceased at the time, were looking down on her and guiding her and helping her,” De la Sota said. “And at times, she almost felt that her father was reaching down to help her.”

Blended into the sky, a shadowed hand reached down towards a walking Leticia De la Sota in his painting, symbolizing the “helping hand” that he talked of.

Inspired by nature, he detailed his art through the things he’s seen and experienced, but also from the things his grandmother shared with him about her colorful childhood.

“He had a very open mind about the world,” gallery talk visitor, Ginber Kan said. “And he wasn’t just religious, but he was more spiritual and universal.”

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Artist Raoul De la Sota talks about his works at the ECC Art Gallery on Tuesday, Oct. 16. His exhibit “Caminos and Passages” can be viewed from Oct. 8 to Nov. 1. (Jack Kan/Union) Photo credit: Jack Kan

As a child, taking classes in art didn’t complete the lessons he wanted to learn from.

After transferring from Los Angeles City College, De la Sota earned a master’s degree in art at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“The first work in here is dated 1964, and the latest one is 2018. So it’s taken me that long, and I’m exhausted,” De la Sota said, laughing. “But I’m not finished.”

Update: 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15. Grammatical error was corrected for accuracy.

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Art Gallery presenting ‘Caminos and Passages’ exhibit by Raoul De la Sota