Portrait painting of a boy
“Pintura de casta: Ní de aquí, ní de alla, ní DACA (Caste Painting: Neither from Here, nor There, nor DACA)” by John Galan, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches, Collection of the artist

The Santa Paula Art Museum presents “Remedios (Remedies),” a solo exhibition by Conejo Valley artist John Galan. With artworks rich in symbolism and vibrant hues inspired by his Mexican heritage, Galan’s exhibit explores the connections between mind, body, nature, and healing.

John Galan fell in love with art as a child. Now in his thirties, Galan is a high school art teacher by day and an internationally exhibited artist by night (and weekends). Galan began work on his “Organ Series” in 2019. Having grown to appreciate the connection between the physical body, particularly the gut, and mental health, John now looks to the foods and healing practices passed down by his ancestors to help treat his body and mind.

The ongoing series combines the universal archetypes of the lungs, brain, and heart with symbolic imagery from contemporary Chicanx culture and cuisine. “I paint because I’m constantly in a state of healing,” says Galan. With each artwork, the artist reminds himself and others of their inherent strength, wisdom, and light.

Painting of a cactus
“Pulmones de nopal V (Cactus Lungs V)” by John Galan, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40 inches, Collection of the artist

Galan earned his Single Subject Art Teaching Credential from Cal Lutheran University in 2020 and received the Apple Award for Teacher Candidate of the Year 2020 for Single Subject Teaching. Galan’s work has been exhibited internationally, including the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, and Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Día de Los Muertos Festival. He has fulfilled artist residencies in Portugal, New York, Tasmania, New Zealand, Australia, and Samoa.

“Remedios (Remedies)” is on view at the Santa Paula Art Museum through January 8, 2023.

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