Mi Tierra offers visitors a variety of Latino experiences from the American West
On the fourth floor of the Frederic C. Hamilton Building of the Denver Art Museum, 13 mid-career and emerging Latino artists discussed their works that make up the museum’s latest exhibit Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place.
In a climate where the concept of place has become confined for many, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) has taken another step to embrace culture and diversity through art and expression.
“The Denver Art Museum at its core is a place that welcomes diverse ideas, backgrounds and peoples,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director at the DAM. “It also serves as a platform for creative expression and we’re very delighted to see Mi Tierra come to fruition.”
The artists give a very soulful, poignant and expressive depiction of what it means to them to live in the American West as Latinos.
“No single viewpoint can represent the complexities and nuances of being Latino in America today,” said Rebecca Hart, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Curator of the Mi Tierra exhibit. “Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place is a forum for 13 artists to explore contemporary experiences of the American West. The artists included in Mi Tierra represent diverse, adamant, passionate voices that articulate their perspectives informed by personal experience.”
Hart assembled a team of experts to find artists that met those requirements.
“We always asked two questions,” Hart said in describing the process of selecting the artists. “Did the ensemble of artists present an honest, balanced view of Latino experiences in America? And was the artist’s work transformative, did it ride the cutting edge of contemporary practice.”
Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place is on display for the public through October 22, 2017.
“The artists presented here are a chorus – sometimes dissonant, other times harmonious,” Hart added. “They are keeping tempo with the political and cultural developments of the 21st century. Their narrative voices question, deepen and expand our understanding of Latino culture and experiences.”
Though some pieces stand out more than others, each has its voice. One in particular Desplazamiento/Contención from Daisy Quezada (Santa Fe, NM) has actual voices – which she recorded to “give a voice to immigrants.” The piece also features articles of clothing that immigrants crossing into the U.S. gave Quezada. She turned them into porcelain and completed the piece with a discarded piece of border fence.
In Plexus No. 36, artists Gabriel Dawe from Mexico City challenges his gender-normative upbringing through embroidery while also offering a display that covers the spectrum of color and light.
“My mom’s family was very traditional and conservative, so she would teach my sister to embroider, but she wouldn’t teach me because I was a boy,” said Dawe in describing how Plexus No. 36 attacked gender-normative social structures. “As I started trying to find my way as an artist, I started teaching myself to embroider and I saw that activity as a way of challenging those notions of pseudo-masculinity that are prevalent in the culture of machismo.”
Another abstract, if not highly entertaining take on Latino experiences comes from Claudio Dicochea (San Luis Rio Colorado, MX) whose Songs of the Event Horizon depicts pop-culture icons and historical figures in casta paintings.
“I create contemporary casta paintings,” Dicochea said. “[Casta] paintings are about early globalization. And right now at the turn of the 21st century we’re still very much living through this accelerated globalized moment. I create these paintings because I feel they speak to a lot of what we live with today.”
They also offer an interesting view of what caste system would be formed between a union of Morrissey and Juan Gabriel or Sid Vicious and Selena, among others.
All 13 pieces on display use different mediums and tones, but each is worth the time the artists, curators and directors spent in assembling the exhibit.
For more information on Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place, visit www.denverartmuseum.org.