Raul Balai a.k.a. el bastardo, is an Amsterdam based artist (1980).
Balai is fascinated by the way the ‘West’ shapes the world, it’s perennial declaration and of the perverse account of history as global fact or truth. How these are present in the everyday and the everywhere, that allow the exploitation of true heritage with colonial and imperial centre partiality; often revised culturally, and the way the media and academia repeats and frames our world as part of the western ‘situation’, its peoples bravado and its countries heroism.
While reworking these subjects in a lighthearted ‘nod and a wink’ manner, underneath this strategy are serious concerns. He uses a number of different styles, genres, to expose and explore what remains at stake within the history of diversities. Ensuring a chatter of ideas and ideals, providing a constant ebb and flow for the context to resonate with the viewer.
He is an artist who cannot be relegated to one style, one genre, one anything. His work is not characterized by a specific shape or material. He is looking at each topic and story and finds appropriate form. Constantly refining his visual and conceptual vocabulary that emerges through points of intersection between painting, installations, sculptures, graffiti, graphic design, illustration, video and photography.
In recent years Balai has exhibited at Countour Biennale – Mechelen, Belgium / Biennale Dak’Art – Senegal / M HKA – Antwerpen, Belgium / Galleri Image- Aarhus, Denmark / Framer Framed – Amsterdam, The Netherlands / WM Gallery – Amsterdam, The Netherlands / The Black Archives – Amsterdam, The Netherlands / a.o.