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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Polvo in St. Louis this november!

Today Gilberto Pinela, a tv host of Enterate, a tv show of latino culture in St. Louis on the UPN network, stopped by on a saturday afternoon to interview 3 artists from Polvo who will be showing in St. Louis this november. Check out UPN in St. Louis this november before the show opens or our polvo site for a link to the web video program. Below is more info:


November 7 – November 18, 2006
Opening reception: Tuesday, November 7, 2006 from 4 to
7 pm.

This exhibition will examine installation artistic practice through the Afro-Caribbean and Mestiza traditions of altar making found prevalent in Latin America. Three Chicago based artists will create three installation projects. Giselle A. Mercier of Panama, Elvia Rodriguez-Ochoa of Mexico and Edra Soto of Puerto Rico will participate in this special exhibit coinciding with the “Dias de los Muertos” festival in St. Louis’s Cherokee community. Jesus Macarena-Avila, co-founder of Polvo, an alternative cultural space in Chicago, curates this special exhibit. Mercier, Rodriguez-Ochoa and Soto will also lecture and lead community art workshops in UMSL departments and in St. Louis’s Cherokee community. For more information of the related events, please call Pat Johnson, Director, Gallery Visio at 314 526 7922.

Curator Jesus Macarena-Avila explains the premise of this exhibition: “Material culture has been with us since the beginning of time starting with the ancient civilizations that used natural materials, including seed pods and stones for ceremonial purposes. This period in time was the early development of material culture based on meaning and sources. Within the context of contemporary culture, material has been translated into belief systems - forging the religious and the superstitious, as well as implementing the utilitarian purpose.

For Latin American countries, the act of recycling material is commonly practiced; material culture can be metaphoric with layers of culture, history and memory. Fusing these meanings and sources onto common found material become itself a transformation, a hybrid. Using this premise, “hybridity” or a state of fusion combines belief systems with the understanding that all is in one, not separated. Sometimes people tend to separate its meaning when it is to be accepted as is. With this exhibition ‘ACCUMULATED MATERIAL: CONTEMPORARY ALTARES AND OFRENDAS’ will examine installation artistic practices through the “afro-Caribbean” and “mestiza” traditions of altar making, which is prevalent in Latin America, the Caribbean and Latina/o communities in the US.

Three Chicago artists will create installation work, Giselle A. Mercier (originally from Panama), Elvia Rodriguez-Ochoa (originally from Mexico) and Edra Soto (born in Puerto Rico) for this exhibit. Their topics put into perspective Chicago’s Latina/o communities, utilising the working-class sensibility, subverting “Eurocentric” academic theory into their artistic
pursuits, identity politics and lastly looking in their own communities for inspiration.”

Giselle A. Mercier will create an interactive installation entitled, “The Grotto of Revelations” that will… “Take the form of an “Urban Grotto”. The premise of this work will be in the tradition of Christian European manifestations of faith, where the populous attributes miraculous powers to apparitions of saints. The outside of the “Grotto” will be an interactive message wall. University and community members are invited to reflect on their religious beliefs and “to explore their own similarities and differences with the artist and wall icons’ lives by leaving their thoughts and/or “ofrendas” (offerings) as part of the Grotto’s premises.”

Elvia Rodriguez-Ochoa will create her installation entitled “Ofrenda to Carlos and Marianna (Drogitis) Cortez and Michael Piazza” in homage to Carlos and Marianna (Drogitis) Cortez along with Michael Piazza, three Chicago artists who have past away. “The three of them were very influential to me in different ways,” states Rodriguez-Ochoa. “Carlos was the ‘Abuelo’ of the Chicago community arts scene, he served as an elder, an example as to what is means to work with the community instead of at it, what it is to reflect your culture without disrespecting others. Mariana was a beautiful, loving, open soul that made you feel comfortable around her. Michael was a collaborator and a teacher; I got to understand him as a person and an artist when I was his student at Columbia College Chicago. It will reflect the
diversity of the communities they came from as part of reflecting the diversity in Chicago.”

Edra Soto will present her installation project, “Documentation 2004: A Year in Review (Ornamentos)” where she took on the task of "a narrow-minded historian" by documenting a detail of the daily news for the year 2004. In a manner inspired by Mexican folkloric art, Soto traced directly onto sheets of metal as many as five newspaper images per day, from publications such as ‘El Nuevo Dia’ in Puerto Rico and the ‘Chicago Sun Times’. The metal tracings are a detailed documentation of popular culture inspired by Mexican folkloric art (Saints Without Body). Soto explains… “Through this manner of gathering information I become (symbolically) what I call a narrow-minded historian. History being written in first person and accepted by educational institutions is a universal theme worth exploring, if not realistically, at least in a symbolic way.”

Gallery Visio, University of Missouri - St. Louis, 170
Millennium Student Center, One University Blvd., St.
Louis, MO 63121-4499, galvisio@umsl.edu or 314 516
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