Call to Prayer, Sparrows of Koutoubia
Dimensions: 61 x 53″
Media: oil and mixed media on canvas
Orlando Leyba’s oil and mixed media on canvas work, Call to Prayer, Sparrows of Koutoubia, references the Koutoubia Mosque located in Marrakesh, Morocco, known for its extensive size, rich history, and architectural structure. The piece focuses on the complex interplay between form and formlessness, composed of a visual dialogue between recognizable elements such as the sparrows in the top quadrant and the ambiguous, yet visually engaging, detailing in the lower region.
Orlando Leyba’s works such as Call to Prayer, Sparrows of Koutoubia oscillate between the abstract and the representational; while free-floating and formless, the detailing in his pieces—which demands a degree of intimacy to appreciate—stands in for a wide array of Leyba’s experiences, emotions, and physical encounters. Ranging from custom lowrider cars to petroglyphs, Leyba’s affinity for incorporating found objects and ideas in his work and ability to juxtapose the corporeal with the immaterial, the whimsical with the familiar, introduces a profoundly psychological insight into Leyba’s past and present life as an artist. As a high school student, Leyba describes that he and his classmates would often break into abandoned buildings in search of materials to use in their work. While Leyba’s present practices might now be considered more conventional, he continues to use ideological manifestations of what was once a process of the physical collection—incorporating checker patterns reminiscent of his grandparent’s floor, collage materials, and distorted textual elements in a manner not too different from tearing wallpaper from forgotten walls. To Leyba, his works are inherently topographical and interconnected; they interact with one another rather than stand alone and represent “little pieces of land”, a concept ingrained in him from the time spent working on his parent’s property in northern New Mexico as a child.