All over this country's artistic landscape lie pieces of America's identity: "Washington Crossing the Delaware" in New York; Hopper's "Nighthawks" in Chicago; Rivera's murals in Detroit; and even the Rocky statue in Philadelphia. We embrace these masterpieces because they commemorate us. This month, the Galleries of Contemporary Art will become the venue for a coming-together of Latino artists from all over the country in the We Are You Project International Exhibit, further adding voices to this landscape.
Daisy McConnell, GOCA director, explains that WAY started in 2005 thanks to filmmaker Duda Penteado. It's grown to embrace all forms of art, film and poetry, making annual stops at galleries across the U.S. and depicting, per its website, "current Latino socio-cultural, political, and economic conditions, reflecting triumphs, achievements, risks and vulnerabilities." This year, McConnell teamed up with University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor Dr. Andrea Herrera to bring approximately 50 works from 30 artists from across the country (including three from Colorado) for an exhibit.
"We'll have all sorts of styles, from commercial pop imagery, '50s Latino expression, to abstract," McConnell says. "And different mediums such as lithographs, metal work, resin and motion-based art."
When asked about any particular works she's been amused by, McConnell describes a piece by Joe Peña titled "The First Mexican on Mars."
"It was funny because he started painting a man on the moon and called it 'The Second Mexican on the Moon,' but he changed it because he said, 'If you're going to imagine something, might as well be the first of something, not the second.'
"Art is ultimately about empathy," she continues. "It's about stepping into other people's shoes and, through that experience there is a connection with the art and artist. We want people to focus on the title of the show; it encompasses all citizens of this country and the planet."