¡Aquí Estamos: The Heart of Arte!

National Hispanic Cultural Center

Selections from the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum’s permanent collection, which contains approximately 2500 artworks created by Hispanic, Chicana/o, and Latina/o, artists from around the globe. Each artwork reflects the diversity of the Latina/o experience in all of its vibrancy, pointed humor, creativity, and social consciousness. Using a variety of approaches and media, the artists illustrate the complex intersections of identity and demonstrate that there is no one way to create art that exemplifies what it means to be Hispanic, Chicana/o, and/or Latina/o.

Ray Martín Abeyta created masterfully elaborate oil paintings in a Spanish Baroque style infused with contemporary subject matter. Abeyta developed this painting to express his frustration over the historically limited expressive and creative opportunities available to women, regardless of their cultural background.

Castillo is inspired by the New Mexican natural world and infrastructure in which she grew up. She describes her work as about “displacement in both humans and the environment,” but also relating to “the pragmatics of being able to work on machinery.”

Margaret Herrera (Chávez) grew up on a ranch in Mora County. She is one of few known and documented Nuevamexicana artists working in New Mexico in the 1950s and 1960s. Herrera created multiple depictions of the San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town, Albuquerque in a variety of media.

These brothers are bi-national, mixed-media artists exploring social and political issues through their work. This piece comments on the pop psychology book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (1992) which addresses the emotional and communication styles expressed by different genders.

Garcia was frustrated at the small number of ethnic comic book superheroes so he created his own. Initially using Tamale Man in faux comic book covers (such as this print), Garcia later featured him in an actual brief comic strip, stickers, t-shirts and just recently created an actual three-dimensional toy.

In ¡Ni Una Mas! Enriquez-Courts explores the issue of the disappeared women along the US-Mexico border. She writes, “I hope to one day focus on working with border issues and helping out those in need and who come to this country looking for a better quality of life.”

Portillo states that his images are not a critique of culture, but a statement of the human condition in general. In America-B.29, Portillo does not work to idealize his subjects, instead capturing human, raw, and empowered moments.

Kenny Chavez talks about his creative process in making this piece.

Tapia challenges traditions, mythologies, stereotypes, and icons, melding traditional and contemporary sensibilities. His cultural pointedness and sense of humor infuse his work with a sense of place and identity.

Inspired by the woodcut print The Great Wave Off Kanagawa (19th century), by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Arreguín adapted Hokusai's image of crashing waves and added salmon swimming upstream to spawn. “Chiwana” is the Chinook name for the Columbia River in the United States Northwest.

The Corazón Sagrado (Sacred Heart) is among the most popular depictions of devotional art. The crown of thorns signifies the suffering of Christ while the heart represents divine love for humanity. Sánchez brings strikingly original and deeply sensual quality to this work while drawing from the essential, organic forms of nature.

Artist Verne Lucero discusses his work, El aquanil de mi Abuela.

Eight color screen print.

Four color screen print

Alfonso is a printmaker, painter, photographer, and sculptor. He spent the last few decades working with the Taller Experimental de Gráfica (The Experimental Graphics Studio), located in Old Havana and founded in 1962 by the Cuban muralist Orlando Suarez and the activist, Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Born in a box car in the Burlington Railroad Yards in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Rubén Trejo draws artistic inspiration from the railroad yards where he lived with his family as a child. Joaquín /Walking Sticks is made from welded railroad spikes.

Artist Edward Gonzales discusses his piece, Requiem.

Rosana Paulino is a feminist artist whose work explores Afro-Brazilian experience and grapples with the violent legacies of slavery. Much of her imagery examines blackness and the subjection of the black female body. She received her PhD in printmaking in 2011 at the University of São Paulo.

Póla López is a self-taught painter and political activist interested in producing art that breaks barriers. No soy adorno de capota is a direct statement about the widespread objectification of women in contemporary society.

Carved and painted wood, animal hair.

Miguel Gandert is a fine-art and documentary photographer as well as an associate professor at the University of New Mexico. He views documentary work as both a form of art with a strong capacity for expression as well as a way of telling stories and understanding complex cultural relationships.

The chocolatera speaks to the Pre-Columbian value and legacy of cacáo beans. Trujillo states, “When I’m making one, I feel as if I am creating something that is kind of holy…a receptacle for something very special.”

Jovial masked characters spring to life with vibrant color in Susan Contreras’ paintings. While her family only remained in México until she was four, she attributes her affinity for liveliness and color to the influence of her country of birth. Her interest in masks reflects the time she spent observing Mexican masked ceremonies.

Water-based paints on pine.

Patrocinio Barela, from Taos, New Mexico, was the first artist of any ethnicity to be exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City in 1934. Barela was hired on the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to sculpt works under the New Deal federally funded programs spearheaded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

An accelerated view of an exhibit going up in the National Hispanic Cultural Center's museum.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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