Michel Delgado’s “A Quiet Revelation” will be featured at the Museum of Art – DeLand Downtown Galleries, 100 N. Woodland Blvd., from April 21 through July 2. Delgado will make several appearances for the opening of the exhibition, including an opening reception at the Museum of Art’s Downtown Galleries on Friday, April 21, and an artist talk at the Noble “Thin Man” Watts Amphitheater at the African American Museum of the Arts, 322 S. Clara Ave. in DeLand, on Saturday, April 22.


The exhibition will feature some of the mixed-media work Delgado has created during the past 12 years.

“I’m not a big fan of the word retrospective,” Delgado said, “because it seems you usually have to die before you get one of those.”

A self-taught artist, Delgado creates most of his work in silence.

“When I’m working, I’m exploring the cracks and crevices of my psyche. I’m trying to listen to what my psyche is trying to tell me.”


His process is meditative and metaphysical.

“For me, I never have an idea what’s going to come. There are two things I usually aim for. First, I want to find a way to get quiet. When I get quiet, revelations start happening. Then, I work from that experience. How can I take that experience — emotional, physical, intellectual — that reveals itself in my studio? That’s where I go in my studio. When I go into silence, characters reveal themselves. That’s the first time I see them. I encounter them and I interact with them when I make the work.”

Delgado said he’s experienced a lot of growth — and a lot of revelation — over the past 12 years.

“I am very prolific. Whether I feel this way or that way, happy or sad, up or down, I always try to get to the same place, quiet and still enough to allow this process to nourish me. I’m interested in curiosity and a sense of growth, on every level.”

Delgado was born on the west coast of Africa, in Dakar, Senegal. “You have to be really creative to exist there,” he said.

During the 1980s, he lived in Paris, exploring and participating in the city’s art scene. He immigrated to the United States in 1988, and now works and creates in his studios in Chicago and Key West.

Some of his work was featured in the Fox television etwork series Empire, on the walls of the main character’s mansion, along with contemporary artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kehinde Wiley, iconic artists Andy Warhol and Gustav Klimt, and the Impressionist master Vincent van Gogh.

Delgado’s past is always present in his artwork.

“I spend a lot of time exploring my relationship with my ancestors, white and Black,” he said. “What was their mission they left with me? What are they trying to send me, message-wise? It’s sacred. I have to create around that with grace, compassion and respect. It’s been like that for 25 years.”

Delgado hopes people who see his art will experience a similar connection.

“I think each individual has a very unique way how they relate with the self they’ve been given. My art is imbued with how I relate with my ancestors. Who brought me here? What am I doing here? Those are the things I want to see when I look at a piece of art. I have to find that in a piece of art. If people can tap into that with my art, that’s a great success for me.”

He also hopes people will recognize the artists in themselves.

“I don’t want to overwhelm people with this art,” he said. “I want to introduce them. I hope everyone who comes will be open to the experience. I don’t come from a world of academics. I’m self-taught. I want to give people an insight into how creativity comes from a source that doesn’t have anything to do with the intellect. I want people to come to this exhibit with space open to receive insight.”

The process is energetic, he said. “I want everyone to know that you can make art. If your heart beats, you can make art.”

You can learn more about Delgado and his work at micheldelgado.com.

Delgado’s exhibition and events in DeLand are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Florida Division of Arts & Culture.


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