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A new art exhibit in Denver explores contemporary life in the American West, as seen through the eyes of Latino artists and their immigrant experience. @denver.org
A new art exhibit in Denver explores contemporary life in the American West, as seen through the eyes of Latino artists and their immigrant experience. @denver.org

Mi Tierra: The American West as seen through the eyes of Latino artists

Thirteen young Mexican-American artists explore the ideas of "home" and "place" in the American West in an exhibit called "Mi Tierra" at the Denver Art Museum…

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A new art exhibit in Denver explores contemporary life in the American West, as seen through the eyes of Latino artists and their immigrant experience.

Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place features site-specific installations by 13 Latino artists that express experiences of contemporary life in the American West. Dynamic artworks were created by Carmen Argote (Los Angeles), Jaime Carrejo (Denver), Gabriel Dawe (Dallas), Claudio Dicochea (San Antonio), Daniela Edburg (San Miguel de Allende), Justin Favela (Las Vegas), Ana Teresa Fernández (San Francisco), Ramiro Gomez (West Hollywood), John Jota Leaños (San Francisco), Dmitri Obergfell (Denver), Ruben Ochoa (Los Angeles), Daisy Quezada (Santa Fe), and Xochi Solis (Austin).

These artists examine diverse narratives of migration and the complex layering of cultures throughout the Western United States through ideas related to labor, nostalgia, memory, visibility, and displacement. Installations incorporate mixed media, performance-based video art, digital animation, fiber constructions, painting, sculpture, and ceramics.

Among the selected artists is Ramiro Gomez, an up-and-coming Mexican-American artist in Los Angeles, son of a janitor and a truck driver. His newest work, Lupita, is an installation that pays homage to a janitor who worked at these galleries.

Many of the artists at the Denver Museum have tackled the politically charged topic of immigration, like the U.S.-Mexico border fence.

"I’m an American-born child to Mexican immigrants. So, I’m at once Mexican and American. I’m in between. That in-between space, that in-between place that I occupy is something that is constantly changing within myself," said Ramirez as reported in PBS. 

“Mi Tierra" asks the Mexican-American artists to confront this questions: How Mexican are you, and how American? You may live in Texas, or New Mexico or Colorado, but where does your heart place your homeland on a map?", reported The Denver Post. 

The works avoid direct protest and instead offer symbolic narratives that tell wide-ranging existentialist stories. And because the pieces are all big enough that you can walk through them, they are powerfully involving — seeing “Mi Tierra”  is like watching a movie and being in the movie at the same time.

That is exactly the case with Justin Favela’s “Fridalandia,” which can be fairly described as the world’s biggest, walk-through piñata. Favela has recreated, in human scale, the courtyard of the late artist Frida Kahlo’s house in Mexico City using thousands and thousands of tiny pieces of multicolored paper. There’s  a cactus here, a peacock over there, a Virgin of Guadalupe shrine in the middle of it all.

“Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place” continues through Oct. 22 at the Denver Art Museum. 

 

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