Santiago Galeas


As a queer first-generation son of immigrants, my experience has been an anomaly in the atelier world. My mother is a former nun from rural Peru, and my father came here as a refugee from El Salvador’s civil war. I was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. Often I feel like a member of many worlds yet not entirely in any of them. Throughout the canon of art history, people of color and queer-identifying people haven’t been a huge part of the conversation in figurative art. These are my subjects. My work is political because of the people I choose to paint, which is especially visible in a mostly white space. My paintings ask questions about what and who we think belongs in portraiture and the atelier and oil paintings, and what doesn’t, and why. To live in one’s truth, as the people I paint do, is to be politicized. I’ve found that there’s no room for subtlety. I feel emboldened to make my work as loud, as visible, as queer as possible.