About Carlos Zapata

Colombian automata and sculptor Carlos Zapata, weaves personal reflections from early experiences in a war torn country, with wider social, religious and political issues. These hand-carved wooden sculptures are intimate and emotive works that have at their core humanitarian concerns.

Zapata’s most recent exhibitions at Millennium, St Ives, exemplify this outward looking practice: ‘Child Soldiers’ delved into the human stories behind war from both ends of the spectrum – how people both deal with, and deal out, violence. In other words how people react to extreme circumstances, with bravery and cowardliness alike. ‘Iconos : Sagrado Y Profano’ examined how religious icons are appropriated and altered for the benefit of specific individuals or groups, in particular reference to traditional customs that are modified within contemporary cultures in South America. Works included icons that are commonly adopted and used within the criminal underworld that is so rife in many areas.

Self taught, Zapata has been producing kinetic or mechanical sculptures known as Automata since the late 1990’s – the act of play that they can inspire creates a sometimes shocking and often emotional contrast to the subject depicted. Influenced hugely by Folk and Tribal arts from around the world, the sculptures are painted with acrylic and oil, the surface is then distressed, painted and sanded again to create the feeling of skin or textile.

Zapata has been based near Falmouth, Cornwall, for the past 20 years and continues to make his own work for exhibitions and collections around the world, while also making personalised commissions.

carlos zapata automata and sculptor