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Too Mexican Or Not Mexican Enough: Chicanoism Exhibit Explores Two Worlds


by Gila Espinoza 8 Sep 2020 6:00 AM

Every day on Art&Seek, we’re talking to people who have tips on art in the time of social distancing.  Share yours with us on Facebook, Instagram, or @artandseek on Twitter. Click above to hear William Girón and Bernardo Vallarino share their tip with KERA’s Nilufer Arsala. 

“Chicanosim” is on view through Sept. 25 during regular hours and Saturdays, Sept. 12 and 19 for Fall Gallery Week

The current exhibition on view at Artes de la Rosa is “Chicanoism.” It features work by Fort Worth artist Michael Flores. Flores was born in Mexico, raised in L.A., and is now living in Fort Worth.

In Flores’ work “you’ll see reflections of culture, migration, preservation, and identity,” said ADLR board member Bernardo Vallarino.

“Chicanoism” is a series of eclectic paintings in an array of different styles and sizes. Some are black and white and monochromatic. Others are kind of cartoonish and very colorful. And still others are fairly naturalistic and more portrait-like. But the themes of culture and identity resonate throughout the series.

Here’s a portion of Michael Flores’ artist statement.

Michael Cruz Flores, El Viaje (The Journey).

My culture is very important to me and I have had to fight to have my voice heard due to my upbringing, being made to feel that I am neither from here nor there. Growing up, I encountered Mexicans who do not consider me “Mexican enough” and because I am proud of my culture, American’s consider me “Too Mexican.” I feel that Chicano is a collaboration of two worlds that have been targeted in recent years by the Trump administration and is evident with the assembly of ICE.

I still remember my life in Mexico, the struggle to immigrate to America, and the obstacles my family faced to make a life with very little, and to see it now being taken away from families not much different from mine is devastating. The art I create embodies my ideals, my heritage, the culture of which I witnessed growing up, and the deep emotions of the fight many generations of immigrants faced then and unfortunately, still do today.  – Michael Cruz Flores

The gallery at Artes de la Rosa has new hours and is open Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment. They will also be open both Saturdays during Fall Gallery Week. FWADA Fall Gallery Week will run from Sept. 12-19.

Día de Los Muertos

La Ofrenda de Fort Worth, 2019. Photo courtesy of Artes de la Rosa.

Immediately following “Chicanoism,” ADLR will begin preparations for Día de los Muertos. Día de los Muertos is the annual celebration of life when families remember their loved ones who have passed away. The families create colorful altars, or ofrendas, to honor the departed and place items to help their souls on their journey to their new life.

Executive Director William Girón said their community-based ofrenda is the premier Fort Worth altar. The ADLR’s Ofrenda de Fort Worth is an installation by a contemporary artist who takes the concepts of  Día de los Muertos and interprets them in their own style to create a unique piece of artwork.

Last year, was the first time the cultural center awarded a local artist a $1,000 dollars stipend to help create their Ofrenda de Fort Worth. This year due to the financial impact of  COVID, ADLR is looking to the public for assistance in securing funds for the stipend.

Juan Velazquez

Artist Juan Velazquez doing work for his fall exhibition at Artes de la Rosa.

Another impact from COVID was the delay in presenting ADLR’s fall exhibition with featured artist Juan Velazquez. You won’t see any of his mural or graffiti work but rather a body of work from Velazquez the oil painter.

That exhibition will now coincide with the Ofrenda de Fort Worth exhibit and will be on view from October 9 through November 20.

Got a tip? Email Gila Espinoza at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter @espinoza_kera.

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