Takoma Park and Montgomery County residents can take a journey through Latin America without even leaving the area.
Nine Latin American artists and the Arts and Humanities Commission partnered to create “Eyes on the Borders,” an exhibit now on display in The Galleries at the Takoma Park Community Center to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Artists involved in “Eyes on the Borders” are from the Pampas, Andes, Amazon and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and have all come together to show their individual perspectives.
The works include contemporary portraits by Cuban-American artist F. Lenox “Lenny” Campello, who used drawings that have embedded PowerPoint presentations to convey a narrative, and paintings by Teresa Diaz, who combined “roadscapes” from Mexico and the U.S to give a skewed sense of reality. Another featured artist, Magaly Garza, combined vibrant colors and surfaces in her paintings that portray the same colors and textures that she was surrounded by during her childhood in Mexico.
Campello said the goal is to show the cultural, ethnic and racial diversity of Latin America.
“People think of a monolithic block of people south of the border, when in fact there are very much different cultures,” Campello said. “Anyone who has walked the bright, colorful streets of Mexico City and has seen the European influence in Buenos Aires can tell you that these two countries… they share a common language, but other than that they are tremendously different and diverse.”
The Latino American Art Collective Project launched this year to showcase the work of several Latino American artists in the D.C. area. Diaz said that the project started partly because she had seen Latino art displayed in unconventional venues, including a Starbucks in Columbia Heights, and wanted to find new locations to showcase the artwork.
The artists involved in the project are influenced by what their experiences have been in the United States and they have acquired traits from the culture here as well as their home countries, she said.
“I want people to be able to see this art exhibition with an open heart and open mind,” Diaz said. “I think exhibitions like this bring a little bit of knowledge to those who are not familiar with these cultures… this is like a building a bridge. We want to build this bridge so there’s cross communication between our group and art, and so that the dialogue continues.”
Shanthi Chandrasekar, the new exhibits director for the galleries, said “Eyes on the Borders” fit in nicely with her plan to have a whole year of exhibits based on multicultural artists.
“It’s a great way to learn about cultures without having to travel,” she said. “Within the communities, there are so many differences and so many things that are very similar. It’s full of energy.”
The Latino American Art Collective Project and the Arts and Humanities Commission opened “Eyes on the Borders” Friday, which included a presentation by Lenny Campello entitled, “On Identity in the Arts: What Does it Mean to be Latino?” The exhibit will run through Nov. 4. Admission is free.
Artists featured in “Eyes on the Borders:” David Camero, F. Lenox Campello, Teresa Diaz, Felisa Federman, Magaly Garza, Jeannette Herrera, Jobi Magana, Andrea Paipa, Camilo Villamizar