‘Alfabetismo’ Collection puts focus on education

By Jared Whitlock.

After painting a mural at an orphanage in Honduras, Santos Orellana was struck by a realization that inspired his “Alfabetismo” Collection: nothing is more important than education.

The Alfabetismo Collection is a set of 27 small-format pieces made with aerosol, acrylic paint and oil-based paint marker on mat board. It includes designs based on the Roman alphabet, the letters of which make up most modern day languages. Santos explained that because most can’t read his glyph-style version of the Roman alphabet, the collection is intended to put people in the shoes of the illiterate.

“Imagine that you don’t know what my letter ‘A’ looks like,” he said. “So that’s why education is needed. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, if you don’t have education, you don’t have anything.”

Santos traveled to his native country of Honduras last year to paint murals at three orphanages, which he chronicled in his debut documentary “Catracholandia – The Movie.” For whatever reason, painting the word Hogar — Spanish for home — on a wall made him realize that education is key for success.

Similar to other Santos collections, the style of Alfabetismo — meaning literacy in Spanish — is a marriage of Mesoamerican iconography and urban street art.

The collection has also spurred an Alfabetismo coloring book, the proceeds of which go to a Honduras orphanage of his choice. Santos is also looking to create education-themed art shows to raise money for the cause.

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