Nicarauguan-born artist Allegra Sleep lived in Central America, South America and the Caribbean before moving to Taos, New Mexico in 1990.
Deaf since the age of sixteen, and primarily self-taught, Allegra’s paintings often reference memories of her childhood in Latin America, and incorporate themes of family and friendship, nature, and kinship with animals.
Sleep of Reason, seen below, is one of several paintings currently shown in the Magical Realism section of her portfolio that juxtapose a child blissfully sleeping alongside (or playing with) wild animals.
Each of these paintings is depicted in Allegra’s highly-recognizable style, with rich, dark outlines, warm complementary hues, and a drybrush texture throughout. Most of her subjects are shown with minimal shading, making for a unique “torn paper” collage effect with paint.
In Elsie & Mabel, two figures rise tall above the landscape, rivalling the telephone wires that stretch like stark reminders of technology and progress across the wild blue hills in the background.
It’s unknown to me who these two women are, or what their relationship was to the artist—but they are painted with such joy and significance that I can’t help but think they held great importance to her.
Last but not least, Wind Ponies is perhaps my favorite of all of Allegra’s paintings.
Braced firmly against the hot desert wind, these fleet-yet-sturdy creatures have evolved to weather the dusty, harsh environment around them. Patient, strong, and canny, their spirits are one with the land—until such a time that they, too, fade away.
If you’d like to see more of Allegra Sleep’s gorgeous paintings, please take a minute to visit her website at allegrasleep.com.