Latin American Art Biennial in the Bronx

Horacio Molina presents an untitled oleo painting for the Biennial. (Photo provided to El Diario)

Horacio Molina presents an untitled oleo painting for the Biennial. (Photo provided to El Diario)

The creative process of more than 150 contemporary artists from Latin America will be on view at the 5th Bronx Latin American Art Biennial. This year, the exhibits feature the social, political and spiritual aspects that have forged artists from the Americas and the Caribbean – in their home countries as well as in the United States and around the world. [Editor’s note: Participating galleries and exhibition spaces include Bronx ArtSpace, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Andrew Freedman Home, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos and the Poe Park Visitor Center Gallery.]

Under the theme “I am one of those people that…” 245 art pieces will be shown to the public during the next four months. The curators, Alexis Mendoza and Luis Stephenberg, have highlighted the topics, techniques and esthetics favored by Hispanic artists in the 21st century.

“With this work I am deeply searching for the Caribbean and Latin American identities, mostly the Dominican identity, and try to go back to their essence,” says Chiqui Mendoza, a Dominican artist based in New York City. He is participating in the Biennial for the first time with the artworks “The Rose Of The Wind” (La rosa de los vientos, in Spanish) and “Invoking Forces” (Invocando fuerzas).

For its 2016 edition, the Biennial will showcase in 10 venues around the Bronx and Manhattan, and will also hold conversations and meetings with the artists. The art pieces, which include drawings, paintings, engravings, mixed media and installations, address an array of topics ranging from consumerism to obesity, the Black Lives Matter movement, traditions and customs, native communities and more. These visual artworks will be presented in parallel exhibits until the end of December.

“The lively colors come from my homeland, from Nicaragua,” artist Franck de las Mercedes explained. “Primitivism is the dominant style over there, and I adopted it innately. The other thing you see comes form the New York influence, from looking at the walls, the broken street signs, the graffiti. It’s a visual constellation that we have here and it’s our own accidental stage.” De las Mercedes is presenting the art pieces “Ofertorio: Greetings from Yankee Stadium” and “Cuervo azul: The Fable of Omar, Tommy, Lucinda and the Hidden Muse.”

For Cuban curator Alexis Mendoza, 44, the common denominator that permeates the philosophy of this fifth Biennial is a “rebellious wave.”

“This Biennial is becoming a humble door for these artists to have their voices heard and show their creations,” said Puerto Rican curator Luis Stephenberg. However, he added, “since it’s easier for us to be entertained, the art of entertainment prevails and limits the platforms that seek to educate about visual arts.”

Go to the Biennial’s Facebook page for the full schedule.

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