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Caras Vemos, Corazones No Sabemos: The Human Landscape of Mexican Migration

September 3 - November 12, 2006


(above: Malaquías Montoya, Mexican American, b.1938 UNDOCUMENTED, 1981, Serigraph, 40 x 30 _ inches [framed])


Caras Vemos, Corazones No Sabemos (faces seen, hearts unknown): The Human Landscape of Mexican Migration has a two-fold purpose: To present Mexican migration to the United States as seen in Chicano/Mexican visual arts; and, to stimulate discussion about migration from Mexico, resulting in a better understanding of the human consequences associated with the phenomenon.

The main themes are: 1) journeys, boundaries & barriers; 2) urban landscapes and human geographies; and 3) negotiating identities and constructing imaginaries

The drama of the exhibition, with music, narratives, oral histories and artwork, will put human faces to the reality of events when a Mexican journeys to the United States. Thus, the exhibit will help the public better understand Mexican migration from the migrants' perspective -- by depicting the experience of the journey. 

Archives from sources such as Radio Bilingüe, a bi-lingual radio station featuring indigenous voices and music of both the United States and Mexico, will be incorporated. Oral histories will emphasize the ways migration has contributed to the collective Latino cultural collective experience.

The exhibition curator is Dr. Amelia Malagamba-Ansótegui, professor of Latino art history at the Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Malagamba-Ansótegui has intimate knowledge of this genre as an artist, as a fronteriza and as former director of the Department of Cultural Studies at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF). Her work with Taller de Monotipia, Imágenes de la Frontera is an example of her efforts with artists along the border. Her scholarly work focuses on contemporary Chicano, Mexican and border visual culture and art.

The artworks are drawn from the private collection of Gilberto Cárdenas, a pioneer in immigrant studies and Mexican migration from 1969 through the mid-1990s. The Cárdenas collection of over 7,000 pieces includes works on paper, paintings, three-dimensional works, photographs, video and retablos. Dr. Malagamba-Ansótegui has assisted Dr. Cárdenas over the years in the development of his collection and, as such, is intimately familiar with pieces ideal for the exhibition -- artwork that will reflect her curatorial vision. The Cárdenas collection to be exhibited is a promised gift to the Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame.

The collection also reflects artistic methods used by Chicano artists from the 1960s to the present. Among other sources, these strategies borrow from La Escuela Mexicana de Pintura, active in the first part of the 20th century in Mexico. The works are embedded with an urgency for communicating social issues through the visual arts to their communities. By translating and expressing in techniques as diverse as silkscreen, monoprint, etching, photocopy and photography, which by definition are reproducible, the artists were provided with multiples for a wide dissemination.

An illustrated catalog will be published by the Institute for Latino Studies, (ILS), under the direction of Dr. Malagamba-Ansótegui.  Other contributors include Victor Zamudio-Taylor, independent curator and guest curator, The Jumex Collection Mexico City; José Manuel Valenzuela Arce, PhD, professor, El Colegio de la Fronera Norte, Tijuana Mexico; Miki Garcia, MA, executive director, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum; Ramén Rivera-Servera, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Theater and Dance, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.

Supporting visual materials will be integrated in the narrative of the exhibition, including photographs, first editions of early-published works on Mexican migration, and a series of ex-votos addressing migration.

A reading table with texts, books and catalogues pertinent to the exhibition and a visitors comment book will be placed in one of the galleries. All didactic material -- signage, labels, wall texts, and so on -- will be in both Spanish and English.

As part of their outreach and education mission, ILS and the Snite Museum are developing public programs to be conducted at the museum.  Teacher training and classroom curricula for middle and high school teachers will be available to teachers who schedule tours, and via the project website.  Docent and self-guided tours for groups can be scheduled through the education department by calling (574) 631-4435

The public reception for the exhibition is Thursday, September 7, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

This exhibition is a collaborative venture of the Snite Museum of Art and the Institute for Latino Studies. It is generously supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Humana Foundation Endowment for the Arts.



(above: Delilah Montoya, Mexican American, b., LA VIRGEN, 1999, Silver Gelatin Print, 29 _" x 24 11/16 inches [framed])


(above: Jesús Pérez, Mexican American, b., THE BEST OF TWO WORLDS, 1987, Silkscreen, 6/59, 30 13/16 x 26 1/8 inches)


(above: Yreina D. Cervántez, Mexican American, b. 1952, CAMINO LARGO, 1985, Silkscreen, 14/88, 41 15/16 x 28 9/16 inches)


(above: Luis Jiménez, Mexican American, b.1940, CHOLO VAN WITH POPO AND IXTA, 1997, Lithograph, 100/100, 30 1/8 x 44 _ inches)


(above: René Hugo Arceo, Mexican-born American, b.1959, PAPALOTE FRONTERIZO, 1995, monotype, 30 3/16 x 22 _ inches)


(above: VELAS)


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