Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio

Absolutely incredible work done here. Please visit the original at this link: https://gothamtogo.com/mapping-resistance-the-young-lords-in-el-barrio-images-by-hiram-maristany-presented-by-miguel-luciano/?fbclid=IwAR1BUPPI7kYlQs4qCDw_20LPUyEGg7CVembsdthHJW-yKXSwv-HHsdyOAT4
by AFineLyneEast HarlemEl BarrioHiram MaristanyPhotographyYoung Lords
Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio ~ Images by Hiram Maristany. This image located on 99th Street, just west of Second Avenue, on the side wall of PS 109

Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio is a new public art project featuring photographs by renowned photographer, Hiram Maristany ~ a founding member of the Young Lords and their official photographer. Follow along as we take the walking tour, map in hand to view 10 large-scale images across five locations in El Barrio.

Beginning on East 99th Street

Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio ~ Images by Hiram Maristany. This image located on 99th Street, just west of Second Avenue, on the east side wall of PS 109

The Young Lords New York were a revolutionary group of Puerto Rican activists inspired by the Black Panthers, who organized for social justice in El Barrio in the late 1960s to the early 1970s. They organized around issues of political liberation and core community concerns such as health, food, education and housing. The image above is entitled March to Free the Panther 21 taken by Hiram Maristany in 1969. It has been installed on the side of PS 109 (215 East 99th Street), an abandoned school transformed into an affordable housing complex of live/work space for local artists.

Moving east on 99th Street between First and Second Avenues, The first public campaign of the Young Lords became the Garbage Offensive, 1969 (two large images below). While wealthier communities had regular trash pickup, East Harlem and other poor communities of color throughout the city were left with trash piling up.

Photos 1 & 2: The Garbage Offensive, 1969 by Hiram Maristany on view on 99th Street between First & Second Avenues

In protest, the Young Lords confronted the local NYC Sanitation depot ~ 111th Street at Third Avenue, and together with the community, they swept the garbage into the middle of the street, forming a barricade that halted traffic.

Photo 1: The Garbage Offensive, 1969 by Hiram Maristany on view on 99th Street between First and Second Avenue

They set the barricade on fire, forcing the police and fire department to intervene, and they mobilized the press to document the event.

Photo 2: the Garbage Offensive, 1969 by Hiram Maristany on view on 99th Street between First and Second Avenues

111th Street

111th Street at Second Avenue ~ Machito Square

Continuing on to 111th Street, corner of Second Avenue, a large-format image of the Garbage Offensive is on view on the wall of Experts Knights Collision.

111th Street, corner of 3rd Avenue on the wall of Experts Knights Collision ~ Image of The Garbage Offensive

Lexington Avenue at 111th Street (below) is a corner filled with history. In the image below, to the right, sit the 1st Spanish United Methodist Church ~ briefly occupied by the Young Lords in 1969 and 1970. The historic church is currently on the back-burner of NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, with continuing discussion about the merit of historic cultural significance as it pertains to the Young Lords.

Sitting in the shadow of the Monument Art Project image of Nuyorican writer, Nicholasa Mohr, and directly across the street from ‘The People’s Church’ ~ Mapping Resistance installation

Below is a closeup of the image of Young Lords marching to the Bronx in support of members of the Black Panther Party, 1967.

Image of member of The Young Lords marching to the Bronx to support members of the Black Panther Party, 1967 ~ Photo credit: Hiram Maristany

We can’t leave this corner without posting the image below of Nuyorican writer, Nicholasa Mohr, on the side of the school located on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 111th Street, as part of the Monument Art Project in 2015.

Nuyorican writer Nicholasa Mohr ~ part of Monument Art Project

112th Street

The largest portion of the installation is located on Madison Avenue at 112th Street

The largest of the Mapping Resistance installations is location on Madison Avenue at 112th Street (above), on the fence of an empty lot where permits were recently filed to build a fifteen-story, mixed-use building.

Hiram Maristany: Take Over of the TB Testing Truck, 1970 on view at 112th Street & Madison Avenue

Many of the images at this site relate to the Young Lords seizing a T B Truck in 1970. The underutilized truck, was only open part-time, not serving the community. The mobile unit was seized at 116th street and set up across the street from the Young Lords Headquarters on Madison Avenue at 111th Street. The technicians assigned to that mobil unit continued to take X-rays.

When the Young Lords were done, the mobile unit extended its days and hours to 9am to 9pm every weekday.

Mapping Resistance at Madison Avenue and 111th Street

Below is a wonderfully thought out walking map, with the installations set to give those taking the walking tour a nice slice of El Barrio.

Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio, photographs by Hiram Maristany, commemorating the activist history of the Young Lords, was organized by artist Miguel Luciano, with support from the Surdna FoundationA Blade of Grass and El Museo del Barrio. The installation will be on view through September 30, 2019. Information on the images at each site, in English and Spanish.

The window of Hunter East Harlem Gallery during its exhibition, Anchor ~ photographs by Hiram Maristany

Related programming including tours, to be announced. Take a look back at 50 years of photographs taken by the photographer, Hiram Maristany, of his home in el Barrio at the exhibition, Anchor, which was on view at Hunter East Harlem Gallery in 2015.

Don’t get lost, get a map of East Harlem (post cards of the East Harlem Map will be sold at Amuse Bouche in La Marqueta beginning June 1st)

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Harry Gamboa Jr.’s Portrait Series Expands the Meaning of ‘Chicano’

 

When photographer Harry Gamboa Jr. began his portrait series, “Chicano Male Unbonded” in 1991, the word “Chicano” implied guns, drugs and all manner of dangerous things.  “I started the car, turned on the radio and the first thing that went on was an announcement from the news that says to be on the lookout for a Chicano male; he’s dangerous,” recalls Gamboa Jr. in a video with KCET, which is also on view at the Autry Museum of the American West, alongside an exhibition of his long-running project, starting September 16.

That initial statement inspired Gamboa Jr. to seek out Chicano males that went against this prevailing stereotype, men that were lauded in their fields. “What the series achieves is not to give you the correct definition of Chicano male, but to give you nearly one hundred answers to that,” says UCLA professor and curator Chon A. Noriega in the same short film.

Here’s a glimpse of what a Chicano male can be.

Rodolfo Acuña, Historian (CSU Northridge), 2000 | Harry Gamboa Jr.

Rodolfo Acuna

Dr. Acuña is the founding chair of Chicano Studies — the largest Chicano Studies Department in the United States — at California State University Northridge (then called San Fernando Valley State). Three of his 20 books have received the Gustavus Myers Award for the Outstanding Book on Race Relations in North America. Acuña was named one of the “100 Most Influential Educators of the 20th Century by Black Issues In Higher Education. One of his most famed titles is “Occupied America, A History of Chicanos,” considered the definitive introduction to Chicano history.

Willie Herron | Harry Gamboa Jr.

Willie Herrón III

Herrón is one of the founding members of Asco, an avant-garde Chicano art collective that also included Gamboa Jr. In a 2007 article, LA Weekly calls Asco the “the superheated core of the East L.A. art scene, an underground legend in the making” in the 80s. Herrón is well-known for his murals, especially “The Walls That Cracked Open,” which he painted at the site where his 15-year-old younger brother was stabbed by a local gang. This work is one of the best-known examples of early Los Angeles street art, “recognized immediately by scholars, art critics, historians and Chicano rights activists as a transcendent piece that spoke to the physical and psychic violence surrounding many disenfranchised youth,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Gilbert Magu Lujan | Harry Gamboa Jr.

Gilbert “Magu” Luján

Visual artist Gilbert “Magu” Luján’s work paved the way for emerging Chicano artists to show in more established art venues. He was one of four Chicano artists to ever exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Despite his role as one of the most iconic figures of the Chicano art movement, his work is not only found in large museums and galleries, but in everyday life; his whimsical style full surrounds commuters on the Hollywood and Vine metro stop.

Salomon Huerta | Harry Gamboa Jr.

Salomón Huerta

Born in Tijuana, Mexico, Salomón Huerta gained fame in the 90s for his crisp paintings of lower middle- class homes and the back of peoples’ heads. His depictions, while seemingly innocent, questioned the value and worth of these subjects to its viewers. Since then, his work has been included in Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art and has been exhibitedat the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego.

Gregory Bojorquez | Harry Gamboa Jr.

Gregory Bojorquez

Bojorquez is not your average photographer. His work first gained attention when his photograph of a shooting on Sunset Boulevard made the front page of the Los Angeles Times.  Unlike the staid, posed photographs one would expect of Hollywood, Bojorquez’s images document street life in its wild, gritty and often sensual reality.  His 2012 show at Hardhitta Gallery, “.45 Point Blank,” was curated by Benedikt Taschen Jr., son of the luxury publishing magnate. The show and a pop-up gallery also debuted in Berlin and Cologne.

New Book: Cutting the Wire Photographs and Poetry from the US-Mexico Border

This will be out in October 2018 and looks to be a promising read…

 

Cutting the Wire, a masterful collaboration between photographer Bruce Berman and poets Ray Gonzalez and Lawrence Welsh, offers us a way to look again, to really look, at the border between Mexico and the United States. Berman, who has photographed and lived in El Paso for decades, is a documentarian who uses his camera to record what’s in front of him rather than for, as he puts it, “mere self-expression.” Berman’s visual investigations of the everyday realities of the border—detention centers, smeltertown cemeteries, kids playing along a river levee, descanso crosses on telephone poles for the disappeared—are exactly the stuff the poetry of Gonzalez and Welsh is made of. The multilayered histories of the border landscape provide an inexhaustible supply of rich and fertile raw material for both Gonzalez and Welsh. But their poetic visions allow them to capture elements of a personal and collective past that historians have often failed to record.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Cutting-Wire-Photographs-Poetry-US-Mexico/dp/0826359000/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527606467&sr=8-1&keywords=cutting+the+wire+book

César Chávez Fellowships at Dartmouth

César Chávez Fellowships

The César Chávez Fellowships support scholars whose research addresses aspects of Latinx experience and culture. The Fellows are part of a multidisciplinary cohort of approximately ten predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars, all committed to increasing diversity in their disciplines. Fellows participate together in mentoring and professional development programming, including guidance in preparing for faculty careers. We invite applications for both a predoctoral dissertation fellowship and a postdoctoral fellowship.

CÉSAR CHÁVEZ PREDOCTORAL DISSERTATION FELLOWSHIP

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Dartmouth College invites applications for the César Chávez Dissertation Fellowship. The fellowship supports scholars whose research addresses aspects of Latinx experience and culture. Particular attention will be given to candidates whose work augments and complements current faculty in Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies (LALACS). Applicants will be selected on the basis of their academic achievement, promise in both research and teaching, and their demonstrated commitment to educational diversity. Applications from candidates who are underrepresented in their fields are especially welcome.

This is a two-year residential fellowship. Fellows are expected to complete the dissertation before the second year and then transition to a postdoctoral appointment. Throughout, fellows are expected to pursue research activities while participating fully in the intellectual life of the department and the college. During the second year of residency, fellows teach one course. The first year, fellows receive an annual stipend of approximately $36,000 plus benefits and an allocation for research expenses; as a postdoctoral fellow in the second year, the stipend is approximately $55,200 plus benefits and an allocation for research expenses (exact funding levels for 2018-20 will be set at the time of offer).

Chávez Fellows are part of a multidisciplinary cohort of approximately ten predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars, all committed to increasing diversity in their disciplines. Fellows participate together in mentoring and professional development programming, including guidance in preparing for faculty careers.

APPLICATION MATERIALS

  1. Research statement outlining completed research (including dissertation), work in progress, and plans for publication (maximum two pages single spaced);
  2. Teaching statement outlining past and future teaching interests (maximum one page single spaced)
  3. Fellowship program statement describing your motivations to join a multidisciplinary cohort; the statement should also describe prior and potential contributions to diversity in the context of academic research, teaching, and/or service (maximum one page single spaced)
  4. Curriculum vitae
  5. Three confidential letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the dissertation advisor and address the projected timeline for completion.

Application through Interfolio can be accessed here: http://apply.interfolio.com/47327

Review of applications will begin February 18, 2018 and continue until the position is filled.

Dartmouth College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. We prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, marital status, or any other legally protected status. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups are encouraged.

CÉSAR CHÁVEZ POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Dartmouth College invites applications for the César Chávez Postdoctoral Fellowship. The Fellowship supports scholars whose research addresses aspects of Latinx experience and culture. Particular attention will be given to candidates whose work augments and complements current faculty in Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies (LALACS). Applicants will be selected on the basis of their academic achievement, promise in both research and teaching, and their demonstrated commitment to educational diversity. Applications from candidates who are underrepresented in their fields are especially welcome.

This is a one-year residential fellowship, with one course to be taught in Winter or Spring Quarter. Fellows are expected to pursue research activities while participating fully in the intellectual life of the LALACS program and the college. Fellows receive an annual stipend of approximately $55,200 plus benefits and an allocation for research expenses (exact funding levels for 2018-19 will be set at the time of offer).

Chávez Fellows are part of a multidisciplinary cohort of approximately ten predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars, all committed to increasing diversity in their disciplines. Fellows participate together in mentoring and professional development programming, including guidance in preparing for faculty careers.

APPLICATION MATERIALS

  1. Research statement outlining completed research (including dissertation), work in progress, and plans for publication (maximum two pages single spaced);
  2. Teaching statement outlining past and future teaching interests (maximum one page single spaced)
  3. Fellowship program statement describing your interests in joining a multidisciplinary cohort; the statement should also describe prior and potential contributions to diversity in the context of academic research, teaching, and/or service (maximum one page single spaced)
  4. Curriculum vitae
  5. Three confidential letters of recommendation. For ABD candidates, at least one of the letters should explicitly address the timeline for dissertation completion. Fellows are expected to have a PhD in hand at the time of appointment (usually by July 1, 2018).

Application through Interfolio can be accessed here: http://apply.interfolio.com/47328

Review of applications will begin February 18, 2018 and continue until the position is filled.

Dartmouth College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. We prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, marital status, or any other legally protected status. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups are encouraged.

Four Latinx Artists on Inspiration, Creation and Identity, in Their Own Words

Original post by Catherine Womack, Catherine Wagley and Liz Ohanesian for LA Weekly found here: http://www.laweekly.com/arts/best-things-to-do-in-la-this-week-nov-10-through-nov-16-8816826

As the Getty’s expansive arts initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA opens in dozens of cultural institutions across Southern California, L.A. Weekly reached out to a few Latinx artists to learn about their own experiences creating artwork that uses identity as inspiration.      

Chicano art legend Frank Romero on the genesis of “a strange phenomenon called Chicano art”

Born in East L.A. in 1941, Frank Romero was a founding member of the influential Chicago art collective Los Four, and his art — in which cars and L.A. landscapes figure prominently — has become iconic. Earlier this year, the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach exhibited “Dreamland,” a retrospective of his work. He currently splits his time between L.A. and Paris.

My background is Hispanic. I had two brothers and 163 cousins. My mother is one of 14 children. So I always say that half of East Los Angeles is related to me.

My mother always had an inkling that I was visually gifted. I had teachers who were very strong influences. My fourth-grade teacher was a Sunday painter, Mrs. Martin, and she encouraged art — that’s one of my earliest memories.

Frank Romero, Untitled, 1998

Frank Romero, Untitled, 1998
Courtesy Self Help Graphics

I was a member of the first freshman class at Cal State L.A. And the best thing that happened to me there was that I met Carlos Almaraz in 1959. He wanted to work for Walt Disney as an illustrator. I took him aside and said, “No, you want to be a painter.” So in a sense, I created Carlos. And he and I became best friends and shared living spaces and studios for the next 30 years. Of course, Carlos died of AIDS 20 years ago.

Carlos was convinced of this strange phenomenon called Chicano art. The history of Chicano art starts with the walkouts at Garfield High. Carlos was much more aware of that because he was a graduate of Garfield. I’m a graduate of Roosevelt High. It was Carlos who brought in Gilbert Luján and Gilbert brought in Robert de la Rocha, whose son is Zack from Rage Against the Machine. Of course, Zack was just a 9-year-old kid in those days. Anyway, that’s how we got together as Los Four.

In the 1980s, Suzanne Muchnic wrote a critique of my work in the L.A. Times. She called my style “bravura.” I guess in a sense it is. Everyone always says, “The colors are so bright.” I think it’s just my Mexican heritage. I like bright colors. I paint straight out of the tubes. I do very little mixing of paint.

I also had a very active career in graphic design. I really enjoyed it, and I was good at it. I worked for Louis Danziger and Charles Eames.

In the early days, like for the Los Four exhibition at LACMA in 1972, I designed all the posters. For that exhibit, I designed a catalog that looks like a giant serape. In those days, it sold for 50 cents. I’ve seen one on sale recently for $1,700.

Now I’m 76 and I’m the world’s oldest Chicano artist. My best friend, Carlos Almaraz, is having a show at LACMA. I was involved in the Pacific Standard Time they did a few years ago. And now I’m involved in this one.

I’m living in France half the year now. My wife is a Francophile and so I said yes, I would go. Diego Rivera went to Paris and hung out with Picasso, so I had to do it.I understand everything my neighbors say because French is similar to Spanish, but it is very difficult to pick it up. My solution is to buy French pornographic comic books and read them. It’s actually helping. —as told to Catherine Womack

DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS: A CULTURAL LEGACY, PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE | Self Help Graphics & Art, 1300 E. First St., Boyle Heights | Through Feb. 24, 2018 | selfhelpgraphics.com

PLAYING WITH FIRE: PAINTINGS BY CARLOS ALMARAZ | LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire | Through Dec. 3 | lacma.org

Laura Aguilar, Nature Self-Portrait #2, 1996. Gelatin silver print

Laura Aguilar, Nature Self-Portrait #2, 1996. Gelatin silver print
Laura Aguilar

Chicana self-portrait photographer Laura Aguilar on stumbling onto inspiration

Laura Aguilar has been photographing her community and her body in Los Angeles since the early 1980s. Her former college professor, Sybil Venegas, curated her solo exhibition, “Show and Tell,” at the Vincent Price Museum of Art.

I grew up in the suburbs, in Montebello, where we were the only Mexican family on the block. When I got to East L.A. College, I started finding out about the Chicano community and art. I went to a class called Chicano Studies, and I started laughing, because I grew up not using that phrase. My father was first-generation, born here, and all about being American. At the end of the first Chicano Studies class, the instructor, Sybil Venegas, was talking about Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, [David Alfaro] Siqueiros, [José Clemente] Orozco — all about Mexican modern art. I started going to art openings with Sybil.

Then I started meeting other artists. I would photograph them, because it’s always easier for me to talk from behind a camera than in front of it. Pretty much everything in my life that turned out to be good is something that I stumbled into.

And then I started doing nudes. I was house-sitting for a friend whose name is Sandy. I’m in her bedroom, I’m naked, I have the windows open and there’s sun and it’s summertime, and there’s a fan, and I’m sitting there naked and I have a soda in my hand. I called this photograph In Sandy’s Room. That’s one that got me in a lot more shows than I thought I would be in.

Everybody always asks me about [how I started photographing in the desert], but I just went to the desert and I needed to do some new work. I went to New Mexico the first time I did a self-portrait series, because I had a commitment.I called my friend who lives in New Mexico, and I said, “I need to do some work to send to England,” and I came down to New Mexico. For two days, we did nudes, and then for the last piece from that series, I was standing somewhat close to a dirt road and this truck is coming and you can see the dust flying, and I’m going, “Give me my clothes!” She threw them at me. She went to the dirt road. She came back and said, “The old man and his dog had these big smiles because they saw you naked.”

A lot of my bodies of work are just an idea — “let’s see what happens” — and then it grows. I just trip into things, and things work for me, and I just want to trust that. —as told to Catherine Wagley

LAURA AGUILAR: SHOW AND TELL | Vincent Price Art Museum, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park | Sept. 16-Feb. 10 | vincentpriceartmuseum.org

Shizu Saldamando, La Sandra, 2014. Colored pencil, glitter and spray paint on paper, 25" x 32".

Shizu Saldamando, La Sandra, 2014. Colored pencil, glitter and spray paint on paper, 25″ x 32″.
Courtesy Japanese American National Museum

San Francisco–born artist Shizu Saldamando found her artistic home in L.A. subculture

Born in San Francisco and raised in the Mission District, Shizu Saldamando moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA in 1996. Here, she became known for her portraiture, specifically her depictions of the city’s alternative culture. For Pacific Standard Time, Saldamando, who is of Japanese and Mexican heritage, will have six pieces showing in “Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City and São Paulo.” She also will have works appearing in PST: LA/LA shows at Self Help Graphics and Chapman University Art Gallery.

I don’t know if I would do the same work had I not grown up in San Francisco. I think growing up in San Francisco allowed me to appreciate the really specific scene of L.A., the punk scene and the goth scene.

It was predominantly white people in those scenes up in the Bay. Of course, there are exceptions, always, but it predominantly was. I still felt like a minority going to those things. Being from the Mission District, I definitely felt different.

In L.A., it was interesting because it was predominantly Chicanos or Mexican-Americans that were in every scene. It felt really normal to be a part of those scenes.

When I was in high school in San Francisco, I would draw my friends a lot for art projects. So, in L.A., it was a natural progression that I would do that here. Then, being in the scenes, I would happen to draw my friends that I would hang out with and that was my makeshift family and community.

If I grew up in L.A., I would probably take it for granted that the majority [of Los Angeles] is people of color. I think that the artists that come up in L.A. kind of do that. They are free to explore different things that aren’t tied to representation because they do see themselves already when they go out.

My parents are both activists. They’re both very political-minded people, very assertive about that. They beat it in my brain, both sides of my heritage and being proud of it. I never really was confused.

I grew up with a lot of political art, and I think that’s another reason I choose to depict friends and people I hang out with rather than activists or Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera or someone like Cesar Chavez. I took that for granted because I was already exposed to art like that.

I think I’m trying to question the notion of exceptionalism within communities of color, like, you have to be this perfect example, a shining star of perfection, assimilation or radicalism. You can be a kid that gets drunk on the weekend, and goes to shows and still be human and relatable and deserving of equal rights.

I think I’ve always done political work, just by depicting people of color that aren’t normally depicted anywhere at all. I’m not going to kid myself that what I’m doing is going to change the world or anything. It’s just art. I’m not proclaiming that I’m doing anything incredible but, in my mind, there’s definitely a reason why I do what I do. —as told to Liz Ohanesian

TRANSPACIFIC BORDERLANDS: THE ART OF JAPANESE DIASPORA IN LIMA, LOS ANGELES, MEXICO CITY AND SÃO PAULO | Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo | Sept. 17-Feb. 25 | janm.org/exhibits/transpacific-borderlands

Kukuli Velarde, Chola de Mierda, 2006. Terracotta with engobes and wax, 20 x 17 x 17 inches.

Kukuli Velarde, Chola de Mierda, 2006. Terracotta with engobes and wax, 20 x 17 x 17 inches.
Courtesy Doug Herren

Peru-born artist Kukuli Velarde on discovering indigenous people’s shame

Philadelphia-based artist Kukuli Velarde was born in Cuzco, Peru, and raised in Lima. Her work often draws inspiration from pre-Columbian art and explores the impact of colonization on Latin America. For PST: LA/LA, Velarde’s installation Plunder Me, Baby will be showing with a few other of the multidisciplinary artist’s works at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona.

My parents were very interested in preserving and being proud of our cultural roots, which, at the time of my upbringing, was a difficult task. To be proud of who we are — more than to be proud, to love who we are — was not fashionable in Peru. Now, people are beginning to respect and love those things that make us different, but for many years, there has always been this desire to be like the colonizer, to follow, to look beyond to the ocean, to the other side where we had never been but where everybody says that it’s better. My parents were “Peruvianists,” if that word exists, and in our home, it was always important to recognize our cultural background.

We had somebody who was taking care of the house chores [named Lorenza] and I remember we went to a festivity that was happening somewhere in Lima and there were some dancers. The dancers were speaking Quechua to each other. My father was not there at the moment and I asked Lorenza, “What are they saying?” She looked at me with anger and she told me that she didn’t speak Quechua. Now, I knew she did. I was 8 or so, and I realized that she was not going to acknowledge that part of her being.

That was something that followed in my mind, that shame that many people have to belong to the mountains, to be part of that part of the country and the humiliations that these people have to go through when they come to the city. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s a reality. It’s not one case every hundred years, but it’s something that happens daily even now, that you can see people are ashamed.

When I did Plunder Me, Baby, I thought about how this part of us, these beautiful pre-Columbian pieces, are loved and respected and admired in a museum like the Metropolitan [Museum of Art], or any other museum, while the people who made them are denied to come to live here. For instance, like what is happening now with immigration. The human beings are always left aside.

Plunder Me, Baby is a series that I began around 2006. They are to work as an installation. This series, or this installation, is supposed to be a group of pre-Columbian pieces that are waking up in a museum for the first time in many, many years, and they are having different reactions to their new surroundings. Some of them are upset, angry. Some of them are hysterical. They don’t know where they are, who are the people surrounding them.

The titles are all slurs that are used everywhere in Latin America to show disdain. I painted my face because if I use other people’s faces, I felt like it could be interpreted like I was using the slurs toward them. I felt that it was necessary for me to own those titles. —as told to Liz Ohanesian

PLUNDER ME, BABY | American Museum of Ceramic Art, 399 N. Garey Ave., Pomona | Sept. 16-Jan. 28 | amoca.org/kukulivelarde

Google Launches Massive Collection of Latino Art And History

Original post by Hazel Cills found here: https://pictorial.jezebel.com/google-launches-massive-collection-of-latino-art-and-hi-1803131829

Google’s Cultural Institute, which specializes in accessible digital preservation for art, just launched a huge online archive of Latino art and cultural history.

The effort, formally titled Google Arts & Culture: Latino Cultures in the US, includes several different categories that highlight Latino history including dance, film, music, style, sports and more. Google has also partnered with several institutions like the Smithsonian Latino Center and UCLA Chicano Research Studies Center to display and contextualize art from their collections, as well as including a mural section where you can look at Digeo Rivera and Eloy Torrez works in detail.

The project also includes an interview with Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez and another with Orange Is The New Black star Diane Guerrero, who speaks for the project about the day her family was deported. “For so many years, I hid the truth about my parents. But then I started seeing DREAMers standing up and demanding rights for immigrants,” she says. “They came out and risked deportation to demand legislative and executive action for immigrants’ rights. I thought, ‘Why am I so afraid to speak up? How is my story not an American story?’”

The project, will be online all year, is massive and Remezcla has assembled some historical highlights to start with. I’d recommend reading about Asco, the Los Angeles art collective from the 1970s and ’80s co-founded by artist Gronk. They created a great conceptual performance piece called “No Movies,” in which the group circulated great fake film stills for movies they invented as a response to the ways Hollywood discriminated against Chicano actors and artists.

These 7 Creatives Are Using the Beauty of Central America to Inspire Their Work

Original post by Yara Simón found here: http://remezcla.com/features/culture/central-american-creatives/

For Latinos in the United States, connecting to our culture is not always an easy feat. Whether it’s because we’re struggling to navigate two worlds simultaneously or we’re a generation (or more) removed from Latin America, it can be difficult to find exactly where we fit in. It’s a tough task for anyone, but especially for those who rarely see their Latin American countries represented. This has certainly been the case for US-based Central Americans, who are either cast in a negative light or unacknowledged.

The emergence of the small but mighty Central American Twitter has helped bring the beauty of Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize, Panama, and Costa Rica to the forefront. And it’s their important work that got us wondering how creatives use the isthmus as a source of inspiration.

Below, read how seven Central Americans – all based in the United States – have put in time to learn about their culture and produced richer work as a result.


Yeiry Guevara

Growing up, her parents didn’t talk about the US-backed civil war that plagued El Salvador and that eventually forced them to move to the same country that made the Central American country increasingly dangerous. That, coupled with the fact that she didn’t know many other Salvadorans during her formative years meant that Houston-born writer and photographer Yeiry Guevara didn’t entirely understand what it meant to be Salvadoran American as a child. It wasn’t until college (Yeiry majored in business and Latin American Studies) that she was able to read about the country that her family left decades before. The texts didn’t necessary provide lengthy explanations – most of the time they were just short paragraphs – but they offered Yeiry a sense of belonging. “That’s me,” she remembers telling herself.

Now, it’s Yeiry who’s putting pen to paper and capturing what it’s like to be Salvadoran. She’s written most of her life, starting with the diary she kept at age 10, but it’s only recently that she’s invited others to read her work. In 2013, after a trip to El Salvador, she wrote The Savior, a Spanish- and English-language zine “where family and memory intersect in our tiny El Salvador.”

“I’ve had enough life experience, enough education to be able to fully articulate and express myself in a way that feels right.”

She released the zine online this year, and saw it take off. Central American Twitter – a group that has seen a rise in the last year or so – embraced it. Others, who like her have yearned for more content about El Salvador, needed something like The Savior.

Guevara has always written about her culture in one way or another, but now she’s doing it in a much more purposeful way. Now, she’s up to the task.

“I don’t think there’s actually a juncture in time when that happened right, because I feel like it’s always been such a strong part of my identity, whether I recognized it or not,” she says. “…[But] I finally have the language to express that. I grew up speaking Spanish and then learned English through school. And so language has always been something like a very powerful tool to be able to frame the way you see the world and make sense of the world. I think I’m finally at an age where I’ve had enough life experience, enough education to be able to fully articulate and express myself in a way that feels right. It doesn’t like I’m code switching or it doesn’t feel like imposter syndrome that you’re not enough of here, no sos de aquí ni de alla.”

Check out The Savior, her mini zines about growing up Salvadoran, and her mom’s crafts on her site.


Isha Sumner

Growing up among Honduras’ Garifuna community, Isha Sumner did not have to work to stay connected to her culture. But upon moving to Houston and later New York as a teenager, the actress and stylist didn’t know where she fit in. And others – who questioned how she could be both Black and Honduran – didn’t make it any easier. Eventually, she found New York City’s sizable Garifuna community, but she realized that whenever she wanted to eat certain foods, she’d have to go to her mother’s house. “My mom, she’s an amazing cook, and I always say she is the inspiration behind Weiga, Let’s Eat, because I see her constantly utilizing her kitchen to bring people in,” she says.

In the Bronx, the Garifuna community has gathered on special occasions to serve these foods, but New York – a place known for its expansive culinary scene – does not have a Garifuna restaurant. That realization made her wonder if she could at least buy a cookbook filled with these recipes. She found some, mostly from Belize, but because they didn’t have images, she couldn’t even envision the foods. That’s when she decided to make her own.

“I knew how to make tortillas, coconut tortillas, from scratch, but sometimes the consistency wasn’t here,” she says. “Sometimes, my tortilla would be like a little too hard or it was missing a little bit more salt. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, making a recipe book would actually help us avoid all these problems.’”

“I see [my mom] constantly utilizing her kitchen to bring people in.”

She turned to her mother for help, but as many Latinos know, her mother didn’t use any measurements for the recipes. She knew by feel, so Isha, equipped with measuring cups, began her journey to document these important recipes. “I spoke to my mom, and she was like, ‘No, I don’t cook with recipe,’” she says. “And I said, ‘Mom, I know. I understand. Just cook like you normally cook, but before you put any ingredient into whatever it is that you’re cooking, I’m gonna stop you I’m gonna measure it.’” And that’s how she managed to amass a collection of recipes and become a better cook in the process. By returning to Honduras, she’s also ensured that the book accurately captures Garifuna cuisine.

The book hasn’t come without its own set of hurdles. Several times, she thought she was at the finish line, only to learn there was a new fire to put out. But she remains committed to finishing the book, because she doesn’t want younger generations of Garifuna living in the United States to go without this invaluable resource.

Check out Isha’s Facebook page, Weiga, Let’s Eat, here


JR Mahung

Five years ago, Boston-based poet JR Mahung wrote Like Waters, a chapbook dealing with mental health and how it affects romantic love. He considers it an important first step toward writing about his Blackness, Caribbeanness, and Belizeanness. That, like many of his other experiences, have ultimately led him to where he is now: writing and celebrating all facets of his identity. Bouncing around between the South Side, Bronzeville and other Chicago suburbs as a kid, Mahung grew up in the same place that many important black artists – including Gwendolyn Brooks, Ida B. Wells, and Sam Cooke – made their marks. “I grew up knowing these folks as neighbors from a different time,” he says. “A sort of lineage of folks who wanted to speak to their communities in a way that I feel accountable to in my own work.”

“My Belizean heritage is important to me because it informs my life and my perspective so much.”

Initially, he set out to become a musician. Music is, after all, the way he become introduced to the world of poetry. Listening to his grandma’s punta and reggae tapes, his dad’s country music, and his sisters’ hip hop taught him how “language could be used to create images and build worlds.”

Then, Yasiin Bey’s verse on Black Star’s “Respiration” inspired him to write raps and join a band. He even recorded a mixtape before finding his true calling, poetry. But he still incorporates tenets of hip hop, including bringing his culture to the forefront.

“My Belizean heritage is important to me because it informs my life and my perspective so much,” the middle school teacher says. To his knowledge, his great grandfather was Chinese, his great grandmother was Maya, and most of his other ancestors are Garifuna. “These are all people who 1. Are not really acknowledged in the United States’ understanding of the Caribbean and 2. Are further marginalized in their homes. It feels important for me to write my family, so I can see my family. And so my family can see themselves.”

The first time he read a book by a Belizean writer was just two years ago. The first time he read something written completely in Belizean creole was last year when he came across Ingrid Renau’s Tears No Have to Fall. “I cried to myself to myself on a bus after I read the thing – a bit ironic I suppose,” he says. “That moment it became so apparent that I had just read a story I had ached for but never demanded or sought out. I didn’t believe it possible to read about Belizeans in our own language and part of that was because I didn’t see us as important enough. I’m trying to write that idea away.”

Check out JR’s Like Water here


Vero D. Orozco

San Francisco native Vero D. Orozco started off making very political work. As the child of immigrants growing up among other  first-generation Americans, she became invested in fighting for and giving back to her community. And though this is still present in what she does – she is after all, a grad school student in Chicago working to draw more attention to the plight of first-generation Americans – learning more about her Nicaraguan heritage prompted a change in her approach. Where she first focused on in-your-face political statements, she now creates more abstract pieces.

“My family was very much like, ‘We’re gonna move to the United States. We’re gonna try to assimilate to this culture.’”

After graduating college, her professor, Juan Fuentes, asked her to take over an archives section at Mission Grafica, a printmaking component of the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. This led her to finding political posters created in the 1980s in response to the civil wars plaguing Central America and the violence that intensified through the United States’ interventionism. Her mother moved to the US to escape the instability that had gained a foothold in Nicaragua before and after the Sandinistas overthrew Anastasio Somoza Debayle’s government in 1979. Seeing those posters made her realize that even though her family moved to get away from this turmoil, they couldn’t escape it even in their new home of San Francisco.

“It also made me think about how it was for my family to have moved here to San Francisco and for all these people to be protesting the war they had just left, because my family was very much like, ‘We’re gonna move to the United States. We’re gonna try to assimilate to this culture. And we’re going to forget what happened in Nicaragua. We’re gonna forget about the Sandinistas.’ And then for them to have to come and it be in their faces, that must have been really hard for them,” she says. “They were going it. My mom was going through it firsthand. So for her to come here and Americans to have the privilege to protest something that’s not right in their faces, I’m just curious how was that for my family.”

That’s when she realized that she didn’t want to add to that trauma – many US-born Central Americans know too well that their families don’t like discussing what happened during this era – so her art style changed. This doesn’t mean that she isn’t in tune with her culture or its dark history, but she wants to help her community heal.

Nearly 40 years have passed since her mother left Nicaragua, and Central America is still overwhelming portrayed through brutal images in the United States. Stories about the isthmus mostly revolve around gang violence and poverty – which are necessary to understand these countries but don’t tell the full picture. That’s why when a group of Nicaraguan DJs decided to host a Nicoya party called Fritanga, she decided to create art that featured the foods you’d come across at a fritanga. And that’s how she wants to uplift her community, by giving them a chance to see themselves in a different light.

Check out Vero’s work on her website


Crystal Latimer

As a child growing up In Western Pennsylvania, Crystal Latimer didn’t feel connected to her Costa Rican heritage. Her mom, who arrived from the Central American country in the 1980s, focused on acclimating to the United States, which meant that Crystal didn’t really grow up knowing that part of her identity. But over the last few years, the painter has made it her mission to reconnect to her roots, and it’s influenced her work along the way.

One of the easiest ways to see is through her use of the floralesque and geometric carreta designs that decorate ox carts, which have traditionally transported coffee from coast to coast in Costa Rica. Nowadays, it is a dying art form, and something she hopes her art will draw attention to. The vibrant colors she uses are also a result of her visits to Costa Rica. “Whenever I think about my home there in Costa Rica and my family, I think about all the colors that I see and the rich, vibrant hues,’ she says. “My cousin … his house is like a bubblegum pink and then my grandma’s house has always wavered between this turquoise and this jade color, and those are two colors that come up really often in my work.”

“I feel like in the past, [my mom] always thought that we were going to be ashamed of [our Costa Rican heritage].”

Though Crystal has only spent the last few years becoming immersed in this culture – including dedicating herself to learning Spanish – she always had one view of Costa Rica growing up. She visited as a child a couple of times; now as an adult, she goes back as often as possible. In that time, she’s seen parts of the culture become more Americanized. Her work also explores that relationship and is a critical look at Western influence over Costa Rica and other parts of Latin America. “I think [Costa Rican] culture is the one that’s so unique and inspiring and needs to be celebrated,” she adds. “And whenever I visit there, and I see it being westernized so dramatically every time I go back, I don’t know, I want to reach back to their roots and celebrate those more.”

Becoming knowledgeable about her background has taken a lot of research and curiosity. But it’s paid off in more ways than one. Not only does she now fully understand who she is, it’s also something she and her mom have bonded over. “I feel like in the past, she always thought that we were going to be ashamed of that part. Maybe it was more of the time that she came over as well, maybe it was something that was not received well,” she says. “But I think she’s so happy to see that we’ve really latched on and wanted to celebrate her heritage and in doing so, she’s been back so many more times – with me and without me – to really keep up that connection.”

Check out Crystal’s art on her website


Mike Alfaro

With his Millennial Lotería, Mike Alfaro created a set of cards that speaks to his generation, but also draws attention to Central America’s relationship with the game. Lotería, which is beloved by the Mexican community, is something he grew up playing at ferias in Guatemala. To him, it represents family and his childhood. This is just one small way that Mike has attempted to bring light to his culture. Drawing from his own experiences, his next project aims to do that in an even bigger way.

At 17, Mike arrived to the United States for college. Even though he was a in a new country, he didn’t find it difficult to navigate life in Orange County. Mostly, it surprised him that others had such a deep misunderstanding of Guatemala. He remembers going to Quiznos and having others trying to explain how to order at the sandwich chain. “People were surprised that I had internet in Guatemala, and so I think in a way, it [was] sort of culture shock [to me] how much people didn’t know about Central America, and particularly Guatemala.” As a matter of fact, many thought that Guatemala was part of Mexico, so he also found himself educating them about his native country.

“It’s really time for Central Americans to work together to uphold our culture and bring it to the masses.”

For many living in the United States, Latin American immigrants only fit one model. But it’s not one Mike can relate to. That’s why he’s now working on a TV show to both look at the immigrant experience from his point of view and to highlight his Guatemalan heritage. “It’s not like immigration is just one thing for everyone,” he says. “And so I sort of wanted to show sometimes that there are different stories to be told in terms of … the diversity of Hispanic life, whether it’s from the perspective of people who have a lot of privilege [or something else].”

TV and film only represent a few Latin American groups. If his show is picked up, it’d give viewers a rare chance to see a Guatemalan on their TVs. “You see movies becoming a little more diverse,” he says. “You’re starting to see a little shift in television, but I think Central America is still a little bit behind. So I wanna sort of bring [our stories to the forefront],” he says. “Because we gotta do it ourselves. Nobody’s gonna do it for us. So it’s really time for Central Americans to work together to uphold our culture and bring it to the masses, because nobody’s gonna do it for us. We have to do it; that’s how it’s always been.”

Check out Mike’s work on Instagram


Rico Lowe

After spending part of his childhood in Panama and returning to his home state of Texas, Ricard “Rico” Enrique Lowe felt out of place. His classmates didn’t know if the Afro-Latino poet was Black or Latino, and those who thought he was merely Latino asked him if that meant he was Mexican. Following in the footsteps of his grandmother and mother, he began pouring his feelings into his poetry.

“When I did write those mini poems back then, a lot of it had to do with that,” he says. “It was the fact that even people who looked just like, who wore the same skin as me, they didn’t consider me black because I had a Spanish name. They didn’t understand what Panama was, which was weird to me. The very first poem I wrote was about that at 11 years old, just talking about how people treated me because my name was different.”

“I gotta stop tip toeing around my identity.”

He began to take his poetry seriously at 17, which is when it began taking a political turn. Lowe, whose his ancestors came from Grenada, Jamaica, and Barbados and played a role in the building of the Panama Canal, doesn’t want this part of history to go forgotten. “A lot of black children who are born pretty much almost a century after the Panama Canal was completed don’t know that their ancestors helped build that canal,” he says. “They don’t know that Black hands came together and put that together for the world. Not only was that present in the beginning stages of my poems, but I still try to talk about those things today.”

Currently, Lowe works as a statistician for the government, but he’s currently looking to get his poetry published. In his early 20s, he set his ambitions aside so that he could find stability. He’s never stopped writing in that time, however, and now has a “big ole bag full of poems.” He’s looking to get his work out to the world, and as he’s done for more than a decade, he’ll continue showing people just who he is through his words. “I gotta stop tip toeing around my identity” have become a guiding force in his life.

“I kinda was tricked when I came to this country to put that away, hide my identity,” he says. “My family has always called me Ricky, but I preferred people to call me Ricky at one point, because I really didn’t want them to know my real name. I didn’t want them to know my name was Ricardo, because I didn’t want people to ask, ‘Why are you black with a Spanish name?’ and then make assumptions.”

Now, he goes by Rico and wants people to know about all parts of his identity. “That’s important when I write,” he says. “I make sure I let people know how proud I am of who I am. I might not always write about something that’s going on in Panama, but I’m aware. And I’m aware not only of what it means to be black, but also what it means to be Latino and the beauty that coexists with those two [identities].”

Check out Rico’s poetry on his Instagram.

New Book: Spanish Harlem: El Barrio in the ’80s

The book, like this description, can be found here: http://www.powerhousebooks.com/books/spanish-harlem-el-barrio-in-the-80s/

When Brooklyn-raised photographer Joseph Rodriguez first debuted his body of work shot in Spanish Harlem in the 1980s, it changed the face of documentary photography. Grit, elegy, celebration, pride, lurking cataclysm—all embedded in the portrait of a place and the people. Now, three decades later, Rodriguez and powerHouse Books are revisiting that groundbreaking series: unearthing huge new caches of images, and re-editing and showcasing the body of work in a beautiful, deluxe monograph, reframing the project as one that pushed beyond documentary into the realm of fine art. Over 30 years since the project began, Spanish Harlem: El Barrio in the 80s finally brings this unparalleled endeavor to fruition.

Spanish Harlem, New York’s oldest barrio, is the U.S. mecca where Puerto Ricans first established themselves in the 1940s. One of America’s most vital centers of Latino culture, Spanish Harlem is home to 125,000 people, half of whom are Latino. Shot in the mid-to-late 80s, Joseph Rodriguez’s superb photographs bring us into the core of the neighborhood, capturing a spirit of a people that survives despite the ravages of poverty, and more recently, the threat of gentrification and displacement. In a now-distant landscape littered with abandoned buildings, ominous alleyways, and the plague of addiction, the residents of Spanish Harlem persevered with flamboyant style and gritty self-reliance.

The heart of the work comes from Rodriguez’s intimacy and access. The trust and familiarity he built with his subjects—repeated visits with no camera, then no photographing, then little by little, a peek here, a shot there—allowed him to transcend surface level sheen and exploitation to capture images that reveal the essence of the neighborhood and of the era. That access paired with a sharp eye for detail and composition, and the practiced and disciplined ability to find the perfect moment, led to the creation of an entirely unique and breathtaking narrative. From idyllic scenes of children playing under the sprinklers on the playground, or performing the Bomba Plena on “Old Timer’s Day,” to shocking images of men shooting up speedballs and children dying of AIDS, Rodriguez reveals a day in the life of the barrio in the 1980s.

Joseph Rodriguez was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He began studying photography at the School of Visual Arts and went on to receive an Associate of Applied Science degree at New York City Technical College. He worked in the graphic arts industry before deciding to pursue photography further. In 1985 he graduated with a Photojournalism and Documentary diploma from the International Center of Photography in New York. He went on to work for Black Star photo agency, and print and online news organizations like National Geographic, The New York Times MagazineMother JonesNewsweekEsquireStern, and New America Media. He has received awards and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Artists’ Fellowship, USC Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism, the Open Society Institute Justice Media Fellowship and Katrina Media Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography, and the Alicia Patterson Fellowship Fund for Investigative Journalism. He has been awarded Pictures of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association and the University of Missouri, in 1990, 1992, 1996 and 2002. He is the author of Spanish Harlem, part of the “American Scene” series, published by the National Museum of American Art/ D.A.P., as well as East Side Stories: Gang Life in East Los AngelesJuvenileFlesh Life Sex in Mexico City, and Still Here: Stories After Katrina, published by powerHouse Books. Recent exhibitions include the Hardhitta Gallery, Cologne, Germany; Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography, University of La Verne, California; Third Floor Gallery, Cardiff, Wales, UK Institute for Public Knowledge, New York, NY; Moving Walls, Open Society Institute, New York, NY; and Cultural Memory Matters, 601 Art Space, New York, NY.

In This LA Exhibit, Queer Latinx Artists Show There’s More Than One Way to Be an Empowered QTPOC

Original post by Yara Simón found here: http://remezcla.com/lists/culture/mirame-expressions-of-queer-latinx-art/

When a group of 11 queer artists and LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes’s Erendina A. Delgadillo brainstormed names for an exhibition exploring identity issues in the LGBTQ Latinx community, they wanted something that was unapologetic and at the same time spoke to their need for visibility. They wanted something that encapsulated their experiences. After two weeks of going back and forth in a Google Doc, the California-based artists and Delgadillo landed on mirame – a word that says it all.

“It was actually (the artist) Julio Salgado who came up with mirame, and the reason that he suggested it was because it’s a Jenni Rivera song,” Delgadillo, who curated the recently launched exhibition titled ¡Mírame! Expressions of Queer Latinx Art, told me in a phone interview. “She was sort of like a champion of the LGBTQ, queer Latino/Latinx community and her sort of unabashed attitude and sort of ‘I am who I am’ really resonated with all of the artists, so they ended up choosing that one.”

Everything about ¡Mírame! has been a collaborative process between the staff at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes and the artists. After Delgadillo identified a group of artists that represented as much of the queer Latinx community as possible, she asked them to choose what works they wanted to display and where they wanted their work to appear. With institutions like museums having a history of attempting to impose respectability politics on queer Latinx artists, it became important not to stifle these artists’ voices. “There’s a long history of art being excluded from display, from public display, for different reasons,” Delgadillo added. “But to me, the fact that we can talk about that openly and we can discuss the role of an institution in that kind of … process … is inspiring to me and it sort of shows both how far we’ve come and how far we have to go. But it’s absolutely, to me, a positive sort of first step.”

¡Mírame! launched on June 3 – at the beginning of LGBT Pride Month – and runs through December 9, 2017. Though the exhibition provides some necessary historical context about queer Latinxs in Los Angeles, Delgadillo wants ¡Mírame! to do more than teach audiences about the past. She wants the exhibition to evoke something in visitors. And very importantly, she hopes that through the 11 artists, visitors are able to see that there’s more than one way to find empowerment as a member of the Latinx LGBTQ community.

Learn more about a few of the artists participating in the exhibition below:


¡Mírame! Expressions of Queer Latinx runs until December 9, 2017 at 501 N. Main Street, Los Angeles, California 90012. For more information about the exhibition, visit LA Plaza’s website here

1

Joey Terrill

Joey Terrill, former director of VIVA arts collective, has made art for the last 30 years. Terrill, who is in his 60s, knew he’d represent an older generation of artists – something he welcomed. “I already knew that I would be representing the ‘elder’ community, given many of the other artists were younger, which was fine with me,” Terrill said over email. “I think a show about queer Latinx artists’ work that provides a range of identities (Chicano, Mexican, immigrant, Spanish speaking, pocho, Latin American lesbian, non-gender conforming, age, and etc) makes for a richer exploration of the queer experience within the Latino diaspora.”

The LA native – who draws inspiration from Romaine Brooks, Frida Kahlo, and Mexican retablos – has used his art to explore the ways in which being gay and Latino intersect and clash. The exhibition is featuring two issues of Homeboy Beautiful magazine from 1978 and 1979. The magazine is a satirical art pieces that mixes elements from House Beautiful and Cosmopolitan to depict the world around him.

Homeboy Beautiful was done in a magazine format as a parody of upper-middle class magazines like House Beautiful or Cosmopolitan with their benign [racial] bias … while at the same time critiquing the misogyny, violence, and homophobia I found ithin the gang or homeboy culture around me,” he said. “It was all done tongue-in-cheek and without any nod towards political correctness. In the first issue, I play a ‘journalist’ [named] Santos who ‘exposes’ a homo-homeboy underground party network. In the second issue, we expose a secret homeboy terrorist network that kidnaps a white family and tortures them by forcing them to eat menudo and watch Spanish-language television. But in the second issue, we [also] document a protest of homo-homeboys and takeover of the editorial offices of Homeboy Beautiful. [They] are upset with what they feel was an exploitative photo essay in the first issue. Each issue contains a ‘makeover,’ advice column, hair, makeup, and fashion tips.”

His Still-Life series, which depict what it’s like living with HIV, is also featured in ¡Mírame! Joey began Still-Life in 1987, and he said he will continue working on the series until he no longer requires medication or when he dies. He began the series because he had mixed feelings about the drugs he had to take to stay alive. While he needed them to survive, he also realized how much his dependency benefited the pharmaceutical industry.

“My intent was to borrow the trope of the Tom Wesselmann still lifes from the 60s, which presented graphics from American advertising combined to create skewed compositions that critiqued American consumerist values – or lack thereof,” he said. “In my series, I always place the items on a Mexican blanket/serape as a tablecloth to firmly place them within my Chicano context. From that premise and template, I can ‘play’ with the items indicated and juxtapose things that people may find familiar but also strange. I wanted to place HIV medications in a domestic setting where they compete visually with Cheerios, Coca-Cola, and pan dulce. I remain an HIV advocate and work to address the incidence disparities among communities of color, especially gay male youth.”

2

Alma Lopez

UCLA lecturer Alma Lopez has shown her work at more than 100 solo and group exhibitions. Using Mexican figures like La Llorona and La Virgen, Lopez highlights lesbian Chicana identities. One of her most controversial works is a piece called Our Lady, which features a young Latina woman as La Virgen de Guadalupe.

According to her website, Lopez has archived nearly two decades worth of emails that people have sent her as a result of the Our Lady. The responses range from those who call the piece “classic, timeless, current, cutting edge, alive, honest, amazing” to those who call Alma “human garbage and sewer slime” for “[desecrating] the image of the Virgin Mary.” But the reason Alma gathers all these emails is because she believes it’s an important debate that can’t be avoided.

Ixta, a digital photograph that interprets Jesus Helguera’s La leyenda de los volcanes, will be on display at Mírame! With Helguera’s work serving as the backdrop, Lopez’s piece includes the Los Angeles skyline and the US-Mexico border. In this version, she replaces lovers Ixta and Popo with two young women. “Growing up in El Sereno, a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, I would see this image of Popo and Ixta on murals, lowrider cars, and Lowrider Magazine,” she said. “As an artist, I asked my two friends to help me recreate this familiar myth however, the two princesas are on the US/Mexico border. This image is important to me in that it addresses and challenges images that I grew up with in my neighborhood.”

3

Julio Salgado

On his website, Julio Salgado describes himself in three words: Artivist. Lecturer. Queer. Through his art and his work at DreamersAdrift.com and CultureStrike, he highlights these identities. While his work is inspiring up and coming artists, for Julio, the exhibition places him in the same room as some of the creatives that were important during his formative years.

“As a queer and undocumented Mexicano who grew up in LA, I was honored to be part of a show with artists that I grew up admiring,” he told me in an email. “I remember seeing Hector Silva’s work and how it reflected our Mexicanidad and queerness at the same time. During a Chicanas and feminism class at California State University, Long Beach, Professor Anna Sandoval introduced me to the amazing work of Alma Lopez and my political artwork was instantly influenced. I am the results of those queer artists that came before me and sharing space with them [is] truly an honor.”

Julio – whose bright, acerbic art is instantly recognizable – chose to feature pieces from his Because Frida Told Me So series.

“In [this] series, I follow Frida’s tradition of the self portrait and open myself and all my feelings,” he added. “As an undocumented immigrant, the current narratives out there go back and forth between the good and bad immigrant story. But we are more than that. Similar to my friend Yosimar Reyes, who is also part of the show, I wanted to focus on the undocumented joy and the things that make me happy and angry and sexual and beautiful. You know, feelings that humanize me.”

4

Yosimar Reyes and Walter Thompson Hernandez

 

Yosimar Reyes is a poet originally from Guerrero, Mexico. His work has appeared in the collection Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry. He also published a chapbook of poetry called For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly. Reyes teamed up with photographer Walter Thompson Hernandez for Acts of Resistance, a series looking at queer brown intimacy.

“As a poet and writer that happens to be queer and undocumented, participating in this exhibit was my opportunity to present a project that celebrates queer browness,” Yosimar said. “When I was growing [up], there was a huge amount of shame that I felt for not being masculine enough. Now that I am older, I see myself as someone [who] is redefining masculinity into something more tender and vulnerable. The piece I created with Walter Thompson Hernandez was dedicated to honoring what queer intimacy looks [like] in public spaces, specifically queerness of black and brown people.”

Both Reyes and Thompson Hernandez – who documents the Blaxicans of Los Angeles – tell the stories of resistance through their work. So this project was a natural progression for them.

“By centering the experiences of QTPOC couples in public spaces throughout Los Angeles, we hope each image challenges popular notions of love, romance, and space in a time of increasing political, racial, and gendered inequality,” Thompson said. “AOR is titled after Reyes’ influential poem, Acts of Resistance, and urges viewers to think about the beauty and complexity of QTPOC couples in a way that creates continued resistance in Los Angeles and beyond.”

5

Hector Silva

For the past 30 years, self-taught artist Hector Silva that is sometimes divisive. But as he said on his website, “If no one’s trying to censor you, the you’re probably not doing anything that important.”

Silva doesn’t create work for those who go to museums, because that can be limiting and it can exclude different groups of people. His work heavily focuses on the cultural identity of the Latino community, which is oftentimes erased. “And then when you add being queer to that, we can really disappear,” he stated. “But I also think that the ‘positive image’ strategy can be a trap, and as an artist, I feel responsible for showing art that is not only beautiful, but more importantly, it should be truthful.”


¡Mírame! also features the works of Laura Aguilar, Ben Cuevas, Xandra Ibarra, Dalila Mendez, Jessica Gudiel, and Benni Quintero.