Romero Britto At Opera Gallery: Commercial Is Not Always A Bad Thing!

Yesterday, after meeting a curator friend for coffee at the Magazine Shop in Dubai’s International Financial Centre, I was texting while walking (bad habit…shame on me) and nearly collided with a gigantic, smiling goldfish. Really! I recognized this piece of sushi right away—he is one of Brazillian pop artist Romero Britto’s Boomfish sculptures. Imagine my delight in discovering that the Boomfish is part of an exhibition at the DIFC Opera gallery featuring Laurence Jenkall (best known for her hard candy sculptures) and Romero Britto.

Boomfish Monumental Sculpture, Enamel Paint on Alumnium. Temporarily installed in Gate Village, DIFC.

Boomfish Monumental Sculpture, Enamel Paint on Alumnium. Temporarily installed in Gate Village, DIFC.

I’ve been following Brazilian pop artist Romero Britto for quite some time. He’s entirely self taught and completely accessible to everyone. His style is identifiable, and invitingly bright and sunny. Any art snobs reading have doubtlessly covered their mouths by now, are clicking their mice to unsubscribe from my blog as quickly as possible, and are too horrified to even scoff aloud. They are thinking that Romero is the very definition of—Gasp! Prepare to launch insult—commercial.

View inside Opera Gallery with Snow White to the right

View inside Opera Gallery with Snow White to the right

It’s true, Romero is commercial and has done one bang up job of developing his brand. Commercial is not always a bad thing. In addition to high-end original pieces, Britto has created iPhone covers, ceramic mugs, and posters of his most famous works at modest price points, making it possible for his signature style to be part of everyone’s private collection.

Young children in strollers to business executives rushing between meetings can appreciate Romero’s art and find meaning in it. The work conjures up a spontaneous feeling of happiness. Pop art is creative without the intimidation factor. It doesn’t require hours of analysis. It is inspired by the world around us rather than the world beyond us.

Honey. Acrylic on canvas.

Honey. Acrylic on canvas.

I adored wandering through the Opera Gallery and coming across Britto’s original Snow White on canvas, a fanciful work that I’d fallen in love with months ago while giving myself a crash course on contemporary pop art. Britto has cited Picasso as an influence in the past, and if you look carefully you might be able to trace a hint of Cubism in this piece. The symbolism of some of the original works being shown in Dubai was not lost on me—pop art, public art, and street art are new to the UAE and are emerging at a remarkably fast pace to the delight of a diehard (mainly young) fan base.

Check back in a year or two and expect Dubai’s parks, walls, and freeway overpasses to be tastefully decked out in colorful, interactive art. In the meantime, indulge yourself with a walk through the Romero Britto and Laurence Jenkall exhibition at The Opera Gallery.

Good Idea: The Romero Britto and Laurence Jenkall exhibition runs through early December. For timings and other information contact Opera Gallery in DIFC here.

Image Credits: Courtesy of the artists and Opera Gallery