Diálogos, an exhibition featuring works by seven Latinx artists from the Columbus area, will feature a variety of mediums and themes, as well as artistic excellence.
The exhibition, installed in the Cardinal Health Gallery in the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, offers a snapshot of the experiences and history from the artists’ countries of origin – Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico and the United States.
“Across South America, there’s a huge tradition of fine art that Americans don’t know about,” said co-curator Eglé Gatins. “These are serious artists with a track record.”
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Working with found objects and handmade dyes, Christian Casas, a first-generation Cuban-American, created a large wall installation of letter squares, in which each letter represents an aspect of Cuban life, from F for Fidel (Castro) to the letters that stand for words that describe the Cuban people, geography and history. The installation is bold, colorful and informative.
Elsie Sanchez’s “Entredos” and “Procession” are large, abstract oil paintings with layers of paint creating swirling patterns overall. The works can be viewed from near and far, creating a sense of movement and hypnosis. Born in Havana, Cuba, Sanchez immigrated to the United States at the age of 9.
Born and raised in Colombia, Eliana Calle Saari references life on a Caribbean island and Colombian history and culture, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, in her large-format black and gold woodcuts.
A Mexican tradition of animal and human portraiture is reflected in Pedro Prieto Jr.’s black and white linocuts. Prieto was born in the United States to Mexican parents.
Mabi Ponce de Léon, who describes herself as a resettled South American (born in Argentina), visits Peru in her large map, a collage of acrylic and mixed media works on canvas. “I explore how it feels to ‘be’ from two places and not belong to either,” she writes in her statement.
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Micaela de Vivero, who grew up in Ecuador, explores the Spanish conquistadors’ search for gold – and the costs for the native peoples of South America – in the handmade paper works. In “Oro no es/Gold, isn’t it?” she combines historical drawings with touches of color including gold threads.
In the mesmerizing video installation titled “Chapultepec” for Mexico City’s vast park, Florence Gouvrit-Montano, who lives in Mexico City and Columbus, integrates the recorded sounds of birds from the park with a bright, soothing image of swaying trees .
Gatins co-curator and fellow artist Elena Osterwalder said that in addition to providing artwork, each artist was asked to write about their work and what it feels like to be a Latinx artist in Columbus. Her statements, available to gallery visitors, are rich in context for her works.
“Your work is beautiful in its own right, but there’s an added dimension when you read about it,” Gatins said.
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Born in France to French and Colombian parents, Gatin is an artist working with painting, collage and mixed media. Born and raised in Mexico, Osterwalder came to the United States when he was 30. She is a painter and now works with natural colors. The curators have been friends and colleagues for years and are passionate about putting Latinx artists in the spotlight, calling those in the exhibition “established, high-profile artists.”
“A lot of people think of Latinx art as more craft, more pop culture. It can be that, but it can be much more. It’s really beautiful art,” Gatin said.
At a glance
“Diágolos” runs through November 20 at the Cardinal Health Gallery in the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St. Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $22, Seniors $19, Ages 3-12 $15, Museums for All cardholders $3. Other discounts are also available. Call 614-715-8000 or visit www.fpconservatory.org.