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Exhibition of contemporary Latin American, Latinx art responds to global themes

By Kelly Carper - | Sep 22, 2021
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"Guna Dule Woman" by Carlos Villalon, 2006, archival inkjet print.
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"Emerald Tears" by Esperanza Cortés, 2010-2021, crystal, cut glass and glass beads on clay.
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"The Corona Altar" by Scherezade Garcia, 2020, paint/installation.
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"43 For Them / 43 para ellos" by Blanka Amezkua, 2015-2018, multiple framed photographs.
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"Dia del los Muertos x 365 (Boyle Heights)" from the “COVID-19: Era of Masks” series by Harry Gamboa Jr., 2020, Fujiflex Lightjet print.
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"Granary Storage and Ariana" by Andrew Alba, 2020, oil on canvas.

This fall, from Oct. 1 through Nov. 27, the Ogden Contemporary Arts Center hosts an exhibition of 24 Latin American and Latinx contemporary artists whose work responds to relevant themes in relation to social and racial justice. The exhibited artists offer local, national and international perspectives through multiple disciplines, including painting, sculpture, photography, installation, performance, digital art and more.

“Vida, Muerte, Justicia” is a collaboration between OCA, Weber State University’s Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery, curator Jorge Rojas and associate curator Maria del Mar González-González. The exhibition opens on Oct. 1 at the OCA Center and the WSU Shaw Gallery Project Space during Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll from 6-9 p.m., with a VIP reception for OCA members from 4-6 p.m. at the OCA Center.

Corresponding curatorial talks and programming will be held at WSU over the course of the exhibition. “Themes of life, death and justice have been inextricably linked throughout history,” said Rojas, who is a Mexican artist, curator and educator based in Salt Lake City. “We’re looking at these concepts through the rich and complex lens of Latin American culture, which encompasses many countries, peoples and visual languages.”

Rojas and González-González, an assistant professor of global modern and contemporary art history at WSU, intentionally selected artists in various stages of their careers whose work responds to a number of current issues and movements, including immigration reform, racial justice, femicide, Black Lives Matter and much more.

The exhibited artists identify nationally as Mexican, Colombian, Chilean, Nicaraguan and Dominican, among others. Important conversations surrounding ethnic and gender identity within this community are also addressed, as artists in the show also self-identify as Chicano, Nuyorican or Latinx.

This group includes multiple international and museum-level exhibiting artists such as Harry Gamboa Jr., Guillermo Galindo, Tania Candiani and others. Prominent Utah artists include Andrew Alba, Nancy Rivera, Horacio Rodriguez and the Roots Art Kollective, which will paint a mural inside The Monarch as part of the exhibition.

Latin American and Latino/Hispanic peoples make up the largest ethnic or racial minority in our country, as well as our local community, making this an especially significant exhibition for Utah and the art world at large. These artists have played a significant role in calling out social injustice on local, national and international levels, creating relevant work that inspires action and change.

“As we look back on one of the most difficult years in recent history due to COVID-19 and global political and social uprising, this exhibition invites audiences to reflect on many of the issues that have taken center stage, as well as the movements that have united us to work toward justice,” Rojas and González-González said. “By exploring connections between life, death and justice, these artists and this exhibition aim to raise awareness, educate, build community and inspire action, while providing space for reflection, mourning and collective healing.”

“Vida, Muerte, Justicia” extends from the OCA Center to WSU, where Galindo and Candiani’s work will be exhibited at the WSU Shaw Gallery Project Space in the Kimball Visual Arts Building. Curatorial talks and performances will also be held at WSU with the visiting artists, providing opportunities for students and community members to engage on the important topics brought forth through this exhibition.

This theme extends to partner events throughout the community.


Exhibition Public Opening

Date: Oct. 1, 6-9 p.m.

Location: OCA Center and WSU Shaw Gallery Project Space, Kimball Visual Arts Building

Performance: Guillermo Galindo

Date: Oct. 28, 6 p.m.

Location: WSU Allred Theater, Browning Center for Performing Arts

Artist Talk: Tania Candiani

Date: Nov. 11, 6 p.m.

Location: WSU Kimball Visual Arts Center, Lindquist Lecture Hall, room 120

Curator Talk: Vida, Muerte, Justicia: Making an Exhibition

Date: Nov. 18, 6 p.m.

Location: WSU Kimball Visual Arts Center, Lindquist Lecture Hall, room 120


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