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Latino Colors Shine
by David Sepulveda | Sep 23, 2013 12:10 pm
Posted to: Arts & Culture, Visual Arts, Fair Haven
The necktie came off as Arte cofounder and chairman Daniel Diaz began a dialogue of dance and rhythm with a group of musicians playing buleadors, large barrel drums used in the traditional Puerto Rican music called Bomba.
The Latino musicians, accompanied by a dancer in her flowing white skirt and petticoat, had gathered outside Arte Inc on Grand Avenue to help kick off Hispanic Heritage Month and a new gallery exhibit entitled Latin Colors.
Arte, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Latino art, culture and education with year-round exhibitions, youth programs and educational and community events. According to Diaz, a goal of the organization and of the exhibit is “to have Latinos share their culture of diversity to help erase stereotypes, to tell kids it’s OK to be bicultural, to not be ashamed of who they are.” Diaz called the exhibit “a quilt of who we are as Hispanic Americans.”
Arte is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through its sponsorship of a series of mostly free community events in September and October that will include visiting Latino performance artists in New Haven Public Schools, a “Families and Education” forum, a Latino cooking demonstration by Cocina Cops ($10), Family Arts and Science Workshops, Hispanic Heritage Celebration event at Fair Haven K8 School, a Rosary or necklace making workshop, and a “College Bound Road Trip” for NHPS students ages 13-16 years. For more details click here.
Before cutting the proverbial rug outside the gallery, Diaz was inside with other Arte board members greeting visitors for the opening reception of Latin Colors, an exhibit that explores the diversity, culture and spirit of Latino art through the eyes and experiences of five Hispanic artists: “Acosta, Arensberg, Casiano, Mestre, Montoya,” as listed on a colorful exhibition placard.
Of the artists on hand to meet visitors, some had had formal training in the arts, while others picked up the vocation as a response to a life event or latent interest.
Benjamin Casiano, a New York City born and self-described “New Yorican,” is a Pratt Institute graduate“inspired by the giants” of the art world, such as Modigliani, Matisse, and Picasso. His acrylic paintings explore two distinct realms of expression: abstraction, Rothkoesque colorfield paintings based on impressions gleaned from Long Island Sound; and simplified figurative works in which elements of line, color and form predominate. The images pay homage to women and the strong influences they have had in Casiano’s personal life and in Latin culture at large.
Jose Acosta, a Cuban American, said his paintings start as doodle drawings and evolve from there. Laden with symbolic imagery and the detritus of life experiences, the paintings shimmer with light reflected from “impasto,” or heavy application of paint.
Mercedes Arensberg, whose mother was Cuban, said she started painting immediately after the her brother, also her muse, died from AIDS. A fashion designer by trade, Arensberg depicts themes of family, gender stereotypes and expected women’s roles in Latin America, in particular, where she lived for many years.
A graduate of the University of Bridgeport with a degree in illustration, Ricky Mestre, showed small pen and ink and acrylic illustrations depicting a series of Latin musicians, each with a different colored background that together comprise a rainbow emblematic of the diversity within Latin culture. Mestre’s work is inspired by religious iconography, Latino life, and LGBT themes.
Standing before a Duvian Montoya painting, Diaz took on the role of docent, pointing out the painting’s Colombian-influenced color scheme and imagery, a dichotomy of modernism and traditionalism coexisting within Latino culture. In many ways, the painting reflects the emergence of many Latinos living here as they struggle to maintain both old and new cultural traditions.
For many Latin American artists who are born and raised in the United States, cultural adaptation is not an issue, but there often remains a need to connect with one’s roots. Art can often provide that bridge as the “Latin Colors” exhibit demonstrates.
Tags: ARTE Inc., Daniel Diaz
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In Fair Haven, Arte is my “neighborhood gallery.” Arte is a real gem, check out their work at the gallery at 19 Grand Ave.—it is of great quality!
Also, founders David Greco and Daniel Diaz are real assets to New Haven; their dedication to art and community/education for youth is admirable.
Thank you New Haven Independent for reporting this great story. A lot of great things are happening in our neighborhoods and this was one of them. El evento estuvo espectacular. It was great to see everyone celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. David Greco and the Board of Arte did a phenomenal job. The art is amazing. It shows the diversity within our community. The community came together to celebrate the richness of our culture. I encourage all to visit arte-inc.com to see the calendar of upcoming events. Arte knows how to do it; your program for Hispanic Heritage Month is fantastic, it covers a lot of ground, culture, education, family and more, a well rounded program. CONGRATULATIONS
posted by: LeeCruz on September 23, 2013 8:12pm
Outstanding event, Danny and David are the best. If you love the arts do not miss anything Danny and David plan, and don’t miss this show the pictures in the article, although good do not do the paintings justice.
I think the purpose of the photos was to highlight the overall event and the people who make the art, as much as the art itself. Highlighting the art is what the gallery is for. One can never hope to grasp the full depth of a work of art from a photo even in the best of cases. Art must be experienced in person, and I will make a trip to the gallery for the main course, though the article appetizer is quite tasty.
Hola! What a nice way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month. Great photos of the artists’ works; smooth dancing to the rhythmic beat of the drums in the video. Enjoyed the article.