EL PASO – Oaxaca has become known as a cultural center in Mexico with many art galleries and artisan crafts. An exhibit at the Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual arts gives a glimpse of life outside of the big cities of Mexico.
Titled “Iconográfika Oaxaca: Contemporary Prints, and Works on Paper,” the exhibit showcases artwork that delves into topics of poverty, border relations, immigration, family, and indigenous culture in Oaxaca. The exhibit also features a wide range of art mediums including prints, photography, paintings, tile work, and sculptures.
“I think that people coming to this exhibition can get a preview of… the energy and the pulse of what is happening in Oaxaca,” said Melissa Barba, assistant director at the Rubin Center. “We have a lot of really interesting artistic exchanges between artists here in El Paso and Oaxaca and so we were interested in looking a little deeper into that connection and creating just a beautiful survey of what’s happening there.”
Kerry Doyle, director of The Rubin Center, had already selected Oaxaca as the subject of the exhibit when she invited Carmen Cebreros Urzaiz, a Ph.D. candidate doing extensive research about Oaxaca at UCLA, to co-curate show. Cebreros Urzaiz’s research encompasses the culture, art, and artists in Oaxaca where she has been living for two and a half years.
“The exhibition shows how place, geography, cultural, social, and political forms of organization are negotiated through images, materials, and media by the artists featured,” Cebreros Urzaiz said.
“Oaxaca is a very complex territory assembling multiple locations, languages, environments, indigenous groups, migrants from other countries and states, rooted traditions, and conflicts of the contemporary world,” Cebreros said.
” I hope visitors get to evoke landscapes, memories, fantasies, to the same extent of perceiving the artists’ awareness about the time in which their practice is situated, and their desire to transform specific dynamics of the contexts in which they participate,” she added.
Artists featured in the exhibit include Pablo Cotama, Demian Flores, Blanca Gonzalez, Sergio Gutierrez, Lissette Jimenez, Claudia Lopez Terroso, Baldomero Robles, and Jaime Ruiz Martinez.
All either live in Oaxaca or have in the past. Many of the artists visited El Paso for the Sept. 20 opening of the exhibit, which runs through Dec. 14.
Following the opening of the exhibit in September, UTEP art students have visited the gallery to interact and learn from some of the featured artists.
“Some of the artists will be working with UTEP students in their classes over the semester as they come through,” said Barba.
The Rubin Center hours of operation, as well as directions, can be found on its website http://rubin.utep.edu/.