Saidel Brito [Pinspot #11]
Cuban artist Saidel Brito's installation Sobre la felicidad del mayor numero posible (On happiness: in as many ways possible) consists of 82 pieces: 41 portraits of Ecuadorian presidents, and 41 portraits of the children who participated in the making of the piece. Brito began with a large piece of canvas, which he cut in half. He took one half to the Plaza Grande (the central plaza in the historic district of Quito, which is surrounded by the City Hall, the Government Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral), laid it on the ground and with the help of a local group of shoe-shine boys and girls who work the plaza, painted it using shoe polish, various shoe dyes and color pigment in yellow, blue and red (the colors of the Ecuadorian flag). Once the canvas dried, Brito cut it into 41 pieces, which were later divided among the children who had originally painted it. Under Britos supervision and instruction, these children painted portraits of different presidents (based on the official portraits used in educational institutions) using shoe polish and dyes. Each finished portrait carries the signature of the child who painted it, as well as the initials of the president depicted. The unused half of the canvas was also cut into 41 pieces. Brito then photographed each of the children who participated, and their portraits were printed on the canvases. In the final installation, the portraits are shown in chronological order corresponding to each presidents portrait and that of the child who painted it.
36 pages, Softcover, 9 x 6 inches, 2001