Contemporary Mexican art comes to Bay Area

September 21, 2011 7:45:49 PM PDT
A major exhibition of contemporary Mexican art that has been traveling around the country opens in the Bay Area on Friday. The exhibition is expected to stay in the Mexican Museum in Fort Mason.

With bright colors and inspired messages, 17 prominent artists will portray their life experiences at the exhibit. Many have roots in California.

One piece, called Lowrider Mambo, shows car rims that look like drums. The piece is by Bay Area artist Julio Morales, who is one of three artists in the show.

Another, Viva Paredes, grew up in San Jose and wasn't allowed to speak Spanish so she would assimilate into American culture.

"The message I got very young was, it's bad to speak Spanish," Paredes said. "It was wrong to be Mexican. There were these issues about."

It had a profound affect and it translates into her pieces, inspired by her grandmother who was into healing herbs.

"All of these tongues are filled with medicinal herbs that have something to do with healing the breath, the mouth, the lungs," Paredes said.

Paredes is concerned that languages are being lost.

Another artist, Caleb Duarte of Oakland, creating a haunting piece of work. They are works that capture the vitality of life; a collection that has been on a national tour has finally found a permanent home at Fort Mason.

Some contemporary art is meant to engage children.

"There are new generations, and they are going to be more readily accepting of visual images," said Paredes.

Those children can explore Paredes with glass, which she says is like a metaphor and a reflection of society.

"Culture is something that moves, changes," Paredes said. "It transforms itself and yet, if it is not taken care of, it can break. It's very fragile."

The pieces will become part of the 14,000 objects in the museum's collection.

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