A scavenger holds upon his back bent metal bars and scraps, his haul for the day so far, keeping them close to him as he wanders around to look for more. His face is telling of circumstance, implicating a sun that has marred him over time.
Bencab’s 2nd solo show in 1968 marked the start of his critically-acclaimed career as a visual artist and leading figure in contemporary art. It was in this show that the artist first introduced the famous Sabel, and the ‘Scavenger’ series, which exhibited the iconic images of the disenfranchised and forgotten were represented by placid colors in acrylic and ink. Made a year later, in his articulation of his subjects, BenCab purposes the individual figure as a conduit of universal experience. Further inspired by the genre of photography, the frank truthfulness in his portrayal resonated with his audience then, a society facing rapid social change.
Even as BenCab has largely moved away from his early style for a more colorful and contemporary palette, older pieces such as this monochromed picture, finds its unchanging value in its poignancy.