Against an indistinct urban backdrop, a bearded man looks out toward us with a piercing and intent gaze. The deep lines and shadows etched across his face trace the portrait of a rough, weather-battered life. The black-and-white photograph, titled Poverty, is one of the many captivating images shot by emerging artist Jacques Balayla.
Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Balayla and his family packed up and landed in Montreal in 2002. After an eye-opening trip to Israel, Balayla began to explore how to capture the beauty in simple things: “From that moment on, I wanted to capture beauty out there … so I picked up the camera for the first time and the rest is history.” Since then, the young artist has participated in many exhibitions, including one at the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), and his work has earned him the respect of many professional publications.
Balayla likes to photograph his subjects in black-and-white and in color. Most of his work focuses on everyday occurrences, like the meanderings of a street dog along a busy European street or a child’s pause from play. Living in Montreal has also been a source of inspiration for Balayla: “I think Montreal has a huge scene for the arts.” In his depiction of life’s fleeting moments, the artist evokes the wondrous ephemeral quality of time.
In 2010, Balayla directed the CrossMatch project, sponsored by Unite in the Fight, which helped raise $10,000 for cancer research. He also directed and produced the well-known War and Peace Campaign, featured on the World News Network in 2009. From this creative portfolio, it is clear that he is an artist with a social conscience.
When asked about his hopes for the future, Balayla smiled thoughtfully and answered: “Eventually, I’d like to have my own exhibit, to have at least one day where I could just showcase many of my pieces.”
To see more of Jacques Balayla’s work, visit: http://www.wix.com/jacquesbalayla/photography