Local Latino/a Artist

of the Month

- Artists of Smoking Mirrors -

As art exhibition displayed at Museo de las Americas and curated by the Chicano/a Murals of Colorado Project that portrays the visual histories of identity, resistance, and resilience of people and communities that are historically dehumanized and oppressed in US society.

The curatorial statement of this exhibit explains: 

Smoking Mirrors: Visual Histories of Identity, Resistance and Resilience challenges viewers to bear witness and embrace the transformative power of the dualism of light meeting dark as represented by Indigenous North America’s resistance to European colonization. Inspired by the Nahuatl mythology of Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca, this exhibition curated by Chicano/a Murals of Colorado Project at Museo de las Americas features paintings and three-dimensional works of art created by twenty-four of Colorado and New Mexico’s muralists and artists who narrativize histories of resistance and resilience from the moments of contact up to current abolitionist and decolonization social movements.

During the Civil Rights Era of the mid-twentieth century, we saw the rise of monumental community art in public spaces as a way to uplift and express community histories that were silenced and excluded from official narratives. Artists used their talent to communicate the injustices experienced but also the beauty and dignity that was present in their communities. These murals and works of art are constantly threatened by erasure and these artists are seldom recognized as influential and vital to the creation of our cities. Smoking Mirrors seeks to rectify and affirm artists’ contributions by exhibiting their storytelling and artistic abilities, bringing muralists together, and providing platforms for dialogue with community members. Evocative imagery and objects will highlight the more than five hundred years of sociopolitical, economic, and cultural history that have contributed to the creation of racialized identities throughout Mexico and the United States."

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Untitled

Jaime Molina

Multimedia Sculpture

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Quetzalcóatl

Emanual Martinez

Epoxy dough, wood, acrylic

2021

I saw the Smoking Mirrors exhibit at Museo de Las Americas in February just before it closed. This feature was originally going to be a review but, in typical fashion, I waited until the last minute to visit the exhibit. It was ok though. After my visit I felt a review wasn't appropriate. Rather, the only way to do the exhibit justice was to bring all the Colorado artists in Smoking Mirrors together into one feature due to their shared presence in the exhibit as a result of their shared histories of "identity, resistance, and resilience." It is important to note that not all of the artists identify at Latino/a. The exhibit addresses issues of silence and erasure so it was inappropriate to limit who we did and did not feature based on race and/or identity. Excluding artists was also counter to the goal of giving those who missed Smoking Mirrors the chance to learn about new artists and explore their work beyond the exhibit. Ultimately, I hope readers come to their own understanding of how each artist's work is reflective of their personal history and the history of their community, both historically and currently.

 

A few artists who we have featured in the past, or who we have on our list to feature in the future, were part of this exhibition. It was a real treat to see their art included in such an inspiring and well curated exhibition as well as to see the work of some artists in-person for the first time. It was an even bigger treat to learn about or view the art work of so many Colorado artists that I was not previously aware of.

Below are profiles for 23 Colorado artists exhibited at Smoking Mirrors. Some artists are not included because online information is unavailable. 

 

Further down is a gallery of photos I took of the exhibit. They are not great, they are incomplete, and they do not do the art justice. The photos were originally only for my reference but including them in this feature with their explanatory panels (if present) was necessary to show readers what the exhibit was about and to give readers a starting point of exploration. I highly encourage you to find other images of the artwork online or, better yet, view it in person.

This is our feature for the months of Feb and March due to the amount of content.

(All profile photos are owned by the artists or the photographers who took the photo. Credit can usually be found in the link provided. If you would like individual credit on this page please contact hello@greenladygardens.com.)

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La Llorona

Alicia Cardenas

Acrylic on canvas

2021

- Meet the Colorado Artists of Smoking Mirrors -

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Juan Fuentes

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Rita Flores de Wallace

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Gregg Deal

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Anthony Garcia

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Adri Norris

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Chelsea Lewinksi

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Victor Escobedo

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Jaime Molina

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Emanuel Martinez

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Anthony Maes

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David Ocelotl García

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Leo Tanguma

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Jodie Herrera

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Carlos Sandoval

- View the Art of Smoking Mirrors -