Open Forum is proud to present Oronda, Manuel Solano’s (b. 1987, Mexico) first European solo exhibition. The exhibition consists of a grouping paintings which display Solano’s unique approach to portraiture in which the artist combines themselves with characters from popular culture as well as influential figures from their own personal life. 

Oronda is an obscure term in Spanish which simultaneously implies a smug, self-satisfied pompousness,  as well as serenity, and in certain contexts, even affluent plumpness. Within the context of the exhibition, these various meanings attach themselves to self-portraits of the artist depicted as Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, Nicki Minaj and most importantly, the artist’s aunt, whose seemingly boundless confidence both baffled and enthralled the artist as a child. All of these women exhibit a fierce feminine power, while at the same time sporting a masculine bob hairstyle. 

The inward journey towards understanding our identities is moderated when diffracted through the lens of others histories in our shared human community. In their portraiture, Solano is at the same time the subject of their own gaze, while safely inhabiting the identities of others. The boundaries between binaries such as self and other, male and female, old and young are intentionally blurred, creating a space for identity and alternative histories which embraces duality and ambiguity. 

Manuel Solano, Oronda, opens June 23rd from 6–8pm and runs through August 4th. For inquiries, please contact Hannes or Nick at or