Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden

University of Nebraska



The Latino Spirit: Hispanic Icons and Images

September 22 - November 29, 1998


The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden is pleased to present The Latino Spirit: Hispanic Icons and Images. This special exhibition of over thirty Hispanic/Latino artists' work is drawn from Sheldon's permanent collection and will be on display from September 22 through November 29, 1998. The selection of photographs, prints, paintings and sculpture reflects strong cultural heritages and diverse ethnic traditions in imagery, technique and materials.

An expressive graphic tradition is represented by examples of internationally renowned Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, Jose Clement Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Rufino Tamayo. Social and political content as artistic expression is historically reflected in the woodcut broadsides of Jose Posada and continues in the Chicano silk-screened poster images of Rupert Garcia. Depiction of everyday rituals (Flower Vendor by Emilio Amero) and cultural celebrations (Fiesta Dancers by Luis Jimenez) are often utilized by Latino artists to provide important social and historical information through a visual artistic means. The woodcarving Santero tradition of Northern New Mexico is represented by George Lopez's unpainted cottonwood San Rafael, while this Hispanic carving tradition is radically updated in more contemporary idioms in the polychromed wood and barbed wire Wounded Heart by Nicholas Herrera.

Folklore, indigenous mythology and Catholicism remain central to many of the artists' oeuvre as in the vivid colored photography performances in St. Sebastian by Puerto Rican Geno Rodriguez and Milagro by Guatemalan Luis Gonzalez Palma. The artistic storytelling tradition is vividly expressed in the narrative painting Epimachaus Ellioti by Cuban-American Paul Sierra.

Included in the selection are photographs by masters Manuel Alvarez-Bravo, Dia de Todas Muertos (Day of the Dead), and Emilio Amero, Bride Dancing the Zandunga, who reflect the documentary tradition of photography as part of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration. Poignant images of the Southwest are captured in the work by Mexican-American artists Louis Carlos Bernal, Untitled (La Virgen de Guadalupe), and Anthony Montoya, Ranchos de Taos Church.

George Neubert, Director of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery who served as curator of The Latino Spirit: Hispanic Icons and Images states, "We are pleased to share with the larger community the diversity of the museum's collection that reflects the rich traditions and contributions of the Hispanic/Latino artists, and also continues to enrich our diverse American visual heritage."

This exhibition has been organized in cooperation with El Museo Latino in Omaha to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15-October 15. The Director of El Museo Latino, Magdalena Garcia, will be giving a gallery talk about the exhibition on November 18, 1998, from 12:15 to 1:00 p.m. as part of Sheldon's "Wednesday Walks" series. An expanded version of the exhibition will be presented at El Museo Latino in February, 1999.

General support for exhibitions at the Sheldon Gallery is provided in part by the Nebraska Art Association, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts in Nebraska through educational and cultural enrichment opportunities. Nebraska Art Association programs are supported by a Basic Support Grant from the Nebraska Arts Council, a State agency.

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