features contemporary serigraphs by 40 artists who took an opportunity to learn a specialized silkscreen print technique from a collaborative Austin-based residency. Many of the artists are speaking from the Latino/Chicano perspective, and the resulting portfolio of prints expresses their celebrations, sorrows, challenges, popular culture, and personal experiences.
Featuring vivid colors and sometimes startling imagery, the works in Estamos Aquí (We Are Here) encourage audiences to ask questions about the nature of cross-cultural exchange and discover how artists find their voice through personal stories and experiences that become part of the artistic process.
A complex assemblage of ethnicity, cultural heritage, and languages represents the American story, our story; connected by many strands that speak to universal themes. The subject matter in Estamos Aquí (We Are Here) is as diverse as its creators, and it celebrates ideas like identity and sense of place. Alec Dempster’s work, Maiz Moderno, is a statement on the cultural understanding that can come from the sharing of food. Artist Sandra Fernandez encapsulates the spirit of being a Latina mother and daughter within the context of society and the “new codes” she has learned by living in the U.S.
The visual language drawn from varied traditions—including family and religious symbols, political motifs, the Mexican Luche Libre matches, neighborhood (barrio) themes, and Mexican graphic traditions—enlivens the aesthetic dialogue of the exhibition, which will be accompanied by fully bilingual gallery text and artist statements. The themes in Estamos Aquí (We Are Here) offer broad programming potential for local communities, including related musical and performing arts events, family oral history and storytelling, and collaborative programming with area churches, civic groups, ethnic clubs, and libraries.
Selected from a larger portfolio housed at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the works featured in Estamos Aquí (We Are Here) originate from The Serie Project. Since 1993, Chicano painter and printmaker Sam Coronado of Coronado Studios has lent the use of his workspace and equipment for an artist-in-residence program where underrepresented artists learn serigraphy. The residency represents artists from differing ethnic and professional backgrounds, but is known for fostering contemporary printmaking within the Mexican-American and Latino community.
Exhibition curator Brad Cushman is the curator and gallery director at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. As a graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art, Cushman has lived and worked in Little Rock, AR, since 2000 as an educator, studio artist, and curator. Cushman curated El Grito: The Cry for Independence (2010) – featuring work addressing issues of borders and boundaries and the Mexican American experience. He is the voice of the radio program Picture This, audio essays on art and architecture, and hosts the television show Inside Art on UALR University Television.