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Dark characters are face of 'Los Narcos' exhibit

Arianna Auber
aauber@statesman.com

The carved and painted faces in the Yard Dog Art Gallery look like they belong to kindly, middle-aged men, not to dangerous drug lords living outside the law.

That’s partly the point of the exhibit “Los Narcos,” said artist Camp Bosworth, who chose to focus his second show at the gallery on these violent criminals.

He wanted to create a humorous and insightful glimpse into the border drug trade that he hopes will inspire dialogue about the subject.

Bosworth, who lives in Marfa, a town about an hour from the border, had noticed a lot of news stories about drug trafficking and began to research “los narcos” (“drug lords”) about four years ago. His nearly 3-week-old exhibit emerged from this research.

All of the 11 faces of “Los Narcos” are of real-life drug lords who are now either dead or in jail, Bosworth said, save for one. The other face is Jesus Malverde, whose Robin Hood image has turned him into the “patron saint” of the Sinoloa drug trade.

Bosworth said he carved each of the faces into wood panels and painted them using techniques of Mexican artisanal wood-carving.

He also arranged them very deliberately in the gallery, tacking them one by one onto a wall to mimic a police line-up. There is even a security camera, also carved from wood, that he said represents the drug lords’ paranoia at being hunted by police and other drug organizations. But he didn’t want any of the faces to look menacing.

“The narcos were dark characters with gruesome stories, and their mugshots were staged, in a way, so that they look dangerous. But I wanted to present them in a more neutral way,” Bosworth said.

The exhibit, which features other wood carvings of Texas subjects, like a Shiner bottle, will run until June 10.

"Los Narcos"