Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Celebrating Latin America in Los Angeles

This is an incredible time to be living in Los Angeles. (Yes, and to visit too!) Led by The Getty, more than 70 arts and cultural institutions across Southern California are celebrating Latin America and Latino art now through January 2018. The 65 page booklet shown here from Pacific Standard Time outlines all the amazing exhibits and activities going on. It means I already know what will be filling up some of my free time on weekends over the next few months. Don't have the hard-copy in hand? You can visit their website to learn more. Many events are free. Others require tickets.

Earlier this month, I attended the opening of Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in L.A. at the Central Library. Los Angeles Central Library is an amazing place even without this current exhibit of huge canvas paintings largely created by those belonging to the artist collective Tlacolulokos. These amazing images are powerful and speak to the marriage of cultures. The images show the spirit of Oaxaca, Mexico with the life and living of immigrants in Los Angeles. Men and women, many in traditional dress are shown using the tools of our current world...stylish tennis shoes, cell phones and digital cameras.

While I was at the library celebrating the start of this great month of activities, I know there were others in other locations doing the same. My experience included hearing songs in the Zapotec language and dancers performing in traditional Oaxacan dress. There was a large crowd and the excitement was infectious. The show started outside. The dancers performed with baskets on their heads. At the time, I had no idea what was in the baskets. Honestly, there were flowers visible and I assumed they were decorative. And then when they completed their dance, they started throwing fistfuls of hard candies and bread rolls (in plastic baggies, of course) at the audience. An elder woman who had a basket of larger bread loaves offered them to people in the audience as well. A visitor near me accepted one
and share a bit with me. It tasted like typical (North) American cinnamon rolls I'm more familiar with. Just not as sweet. These loaves would make great breakfast food with a cup of good fair trade coffee. (I had to get the words fair trade in somewhere on this blog, yes?) After the performers were done sharing the treats they brought, they paraded into the library atrium where the paintings hang. The crowd followed them in. It was loud and fun even though the acoustics inside the library were far from perfect.

Reminding me of my visit, each and every day, I now have a small poster up in my office which shows a large detail of one of the pieces currently on display.  It's also signed by one of the artists in the bottom left corner.

I can't wait to get over to the Getty Museum to see their current exhibit, Golden Kingdoms. I'm told this exhibit will be a huge crowd pleaser. It's a major international loan exhibition featuring more than 300 masterpieces and traces the development of luxury arts in the Americas from about 1000 BC to the arrival of Europeans in the early sixteenth century. This exhibit covers Inca, Maya and Aztec cultures. Are you in the Los Angeles area? Did I say you must check this exhibit out? (And many others going on?) Yes!

OK - here's the pitch for Dunitz & Company! When you're at the Getty, you MUST check out their gift shop.  For the duration of this exhibit, they are selling Dunitz & Company fair trade earrings and bracelets. The buyers thought some of our designs were reminiscent of Pre-Columbian works, so it made complete sense. And of course, they were thrilled that we are members of Fair Trade Federation and our prices very reasonable. This photo shows a couple of styles that you'll find in their shop. You'll find these earrings in other colors too.

Another exhibit I know will be well worth seeing is at the Skirball Cultural Center. Their exhibit this season focuses on Mexican-born, American Jewish writer Anita Brenner. Through her life and work, we will experience the culture of Mexico and its relationship with the United States. The Skirball always puts on amazing shows. In the area? You must attend. And while you're there, check out the gift shop. The Skirball is currently selling Dunitz & Company kippot.

There are too many shows going on in and around Los Angeles celebrating our relationship with Latin America to list them all. To learn of them all, spend some time online at Pacific Standard Time.

Here are a few more I absolutely do NOT want to miss:

Photography of Cuba - Annenberg Space for Photography

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-85 - Hammer Museum

Found in Translation: Design in CA & Mexico 1915-85 - LACMA 

La Raza - Autry Museum of the American West

Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of Caribbean Archipelago - MOLAA

Hollywood in Havana: Five Decades of Cuban Posters - Pasadena Museum of CA Art

OMG - & there are so many more! I'm going to be VERY busy. If you're in Southern California, please join in and enjoy all this city and our surroundings have to offer. -ND