'El sombrero de Miguel López,' a picture by Juan Escobedo.
A new photo exhibit will honor Miguel López's roots. Photo:

'El sombrero de Miguel López' by Juan Escobedo featured by Illuminate LA

The exhibit is a collective memory installation and is also out to reflect the group history of Los Angeles County.


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The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture recently launched a new digital art exhibit titled Illuminate LA, highlighting the vast experiences of the county's underrepresented communities. It's in partnership with Grand Park and powered by The Music Center.

The initiative will presenting artwork by 100 Los Angeles’ artists in a wide range of mediums to share diverse community experiences and perspectives.

One of the artists selected to share his work is actor, director and photographer Juan Escobedo, who highlights his work entitled El Sombrero de Miguel López, paying homage to his late grandfather.

Escobedo stressed:

I’m honored to have been selected among so many great artists to show my work at this exhibit, and to be able to share a piece of my family history makes it that much more special.

Illuminate LA

Illuminate LA is a new initiative of the Department of Arts and Culture that seeks to shed light on the complex and collective history and memory of Los Angeles County by exploring the County's Civic Art Collection and public works of art throughout the region.

Through panel discussions, events and artist engagements, the initiative will promote promising practices and examples of civic art that call for greater equity and cultural inclusion, expanding opportunities for diverse underrepresented artists in public art.

Free to audiences of all ages, Illuminate LA will be on view in Grand Park, overlooking the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, between Saturday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, March 18.

The artworks, curated by cultural organizer Anuradha Vikram, will be featured thematically each week. The five themes include:

  1. Our Cities
  2. Roots
  3. Earthly Spirits
  4. Kinship
  5. Ofrenda

Get to know: Juan Escobedo and his Work

Escobedo is an award-winning actor, director, and photographer. His short film, Marisol, was in the running for an Oscar nomination and the script was included in the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

His most notable work, Trash and Tears, is a series of photographs showing models posing, surrounded by trash all over Los Angeles. It was an installation that addresses the issues of hoarding, mental health, poverty, and drug addiction, and Escobedo manages to humanize homelessness by capturing its reality through his artistic lens.

Juan Escobedo's 'El sombrero de Miguel López.' Photo:
Juan Escobedo's El sombrero de Miguel López. Photo:

El sombrero de Miguel López is a photograph the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) began publishing in 2012 as part of the City of Los Angeles' Heritage Month celebrations, and will be on display during the week of ‘Ofrenda,’ which includes works by artists who reflect on their ancestors, rites of passage, sacred spaces, and homage.

The piece will be on display at Grand Park from March 11-18 and can currently be viewed online by clicking here.

“Miguel Lopez, my grandfather, was from Jalisco, Mexico. He came to the USA when visitors paid 50 cents to cross the border. I didn’t know he was part of the Bracero Program until years later. As far as I can remember, Miguel Lopez always wore a sombrero for riding horses or doing farm work. Along with his horses and cattle, the sombrero was an extension of who he was and the land he cared for,” said Escobedo.


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