WVAC Spring Exhibition:‘Unity Through Art’
Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 14, 2019
Reception: 6-8 p.m. Friday
Exhibit: Through May 18
Always timely, but more so in our current national climate, are the subjects of unity and divisiveness. Often, when we take the words away and let images speak the language of the viewer, the message of unity becomes clearer.
Just opened on Feb. 9 at Waterworks Visual Arts Center, Unity Through Art accomplishes just that. Artist Nico Amortegui points to his larger-than-life rocking horse, Pinocchio, and llama, and explains that all children from all cultures play with toys growing up. Toys need no translation; they speak for themselves.
Waterworks’ galleries are filled with works of art in a variety of media by artists who identify as Latinx or Hispanic. Three solo artists and ten artists participating in a group show were invited to present their personal cultural narrative. The selected artwork amplifies our culturally rich communities and how their contributions add value to our region of the globe. This exhibition, co-curated with Claudia Corletto, is made possible with support from Well Fargo.
The public is invited to the opening reception on Feb. 15 from 6-8 p.m. There will be music by the Mamis and the Papis, plus light refreshments.
Waterworks Visual Arts Center galleries and sculpture garden are open to the public Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free.
Nico Amortegui describes himself as “the by-product of a close-knit, artistic family filled with architects, carpenters, designers, photographers, and artists,” therefore – “I paint out of necessity.” “My work is often full of unapologetic color and is a direct product of my expressed energy – meaning there are no sketches or previous drawings.” Nico emigrated from Colombia to the US in the late 90s, and “became starkly aware of the transaction between two ‘allied’ countries and my encounters in this place we had always referred to as the ‘American Dream’. Throughout my art practice, I enjoy illustrating ‘snapshots’ of a peripatetic lifestyle – one that was focused on survival of the time – my own (as an immigrant) and of those I have encountered along the way. Creating portraits of others who have defied the odds and/or were infamous or honorable in one life time often takes over my canvasses.”
Gliser Fuentes Mena, artist of the collection of oil paintings and animation, One Mind, Many Dreams, offers, “The characters in my works do not have a name, nor do they have a story. Their plots vary according to the viewer’s perception.” “Everything we see and experience is nothing more than a projection of our thoughts. We live submerged in a dream which can be happy if we live with love and unhapp[y] if we live it with fear. [Our happiness depends on] how we interpret our existence.” “Love is a state and not a feeling, and if we give value to conflict, we cannot give value to peace.”
Artist Jamal P. Smith, creator of Heels & Steel, was greatly influenced by growing up in the 90s when lowriders were at their peak and GoGo and Hip Hop music were pure art forms. Jamaul’s Honduran-born grandmother always told him to follow his dream no matter what, and to stay true to his roots. His works on exhibit at Waterworks are “a representation of new ideas with old concepts and his marriage of digital art with traditional drawings.”
Unity Through Art also presents Where is Home?, a compilation of art works from ten contributing artists of the Latinx: El Grupo Del Los 10: Leticia Alvarez, Olisa Corcoran, Francisco Gonzalez, Las Ofrendas, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Lizbeth Ortiz, Jeannifer Jean Sandoval, Natacha Villamia Sochat, Stef Bernal-Martinez, and Yholima Vargas-Aleem.