Growing up under the influence of Santiago was no easy feat. With two Santiagos in my life both towering, influential and silent, it dawned on me that both were inextricably linked.
The influences of these Santiagos were initially subtle but as the years pressed forward, their presence and mystery has infiltrated my daily life to such an extent that I feel they must be examined closely .
Santiago Bell was my beloved grandfather, a man whom I was in awe of. From early childhood his spirit and moral strength massively shaped my ideas and ambitions. His artwork and incredible life drew many people to him, as did his unshakable faith and philanthropic ideals.
The second Santiago in my life was the place where I was born, Chile. Growing up in the shadow of exile was perplexing and added unnecessary drama to the already complex process of growing up and finding one’s place in the world. I was soon to discover that I inhabit several worlds. The trick was to decipher which one of them I truly belonged to.
The road to our eventual exile in the UK has been littered with sub journeys.
As I begin to attempt to understand who Santiago was and attempt to extrapolate meaning from his artwork, I hope to be led to the other Santiago. The one I left behind in Chile.