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Phoenix Art Museum event highlights Latinx art forms

People spilled into Whiteman Hall at the Phoenix Art Museum to hear guest speakers open up about their own experiences as Latinx individuals. 

On Wednesday September 6, the museum held an art talk collaboration with the Arizona State University Art Museum and CALA Alliance. Among the artists on display were Luis Rivera Jiménez, Alana Hernandez, Irasema Coronado and Carlos Martiel.

Displayed on a screen in the hall were four of the exhibitions of Juan Francisco, a first generation artist who specialized in sculptures and installations regarding a variety of Latin communities. Born and raised in post-revolutionary Cuba Francisco painted a piece titled “Methuselah,” which reveals an endangered monarch butterfly. His artwork continues to live on to this day and is presented in the Steele Gallery of the museum. 

Alliance Curator of Latinx Art Alana Hernandez took the podium and began  to highlight various topics such as the interconnecting themes of migration, displacement, race and environment emerging in both exhibitions. Along with this are the specific techniques that set apart the artists. 

Luis Rivera Jiménez spoke first. He’s a Multidisciplinary artist and researcher who over the years has focused his work on using collages of photographs and making them his own. 

“This work is a cumulation of different photographs I found before my grandma’s house was taken by the bank…thinking about the way these materials would be erased and destroyed and the relationship I had to the ways that I thought about the information and the knowledge that marginalized and racialized bodies have in that moment when in Puerto Rico…” said Jiménez. 

Irasema Coronado, director of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University grew up on the Mexico border, and took the mic and began  discussing her research.

“One of my sources of inspiration is the border environment…one of the papers I’ve recently worked on with several other authors is a white paper that is titled ‘Water Management on the United States Mexico border.’ And they basically make recommendations to the International Water Commision in Mexico to deal with national water issues,” said Coronado. 

Carlos Martiel is a Cuban installation and performance artist who is widely known for his unique style of art. Martiel uses his own body in his work, such as his blood and piercings to help represent pain black individuals have endured throughout history. 

“And so this insignia goes back to what I was talking about with blood and how I was starting to use my own blood and the blood of others for my work. In this piece of work what I do is to transform not so much the design but the colors of the national flags,” said Martiel.

Martiel's technique consisted of making the flag into white, black, and red colors. For the red sections he chose to use the blood of people who have been marginalized in that particular area. 

These artists come from diverse Latinx backgrounds and experiences but come together to create a community of people who want to see change and be the voice for those who can’t speak for themselves through an artistic light.

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