ENGAGE US! Art for Social Change
ENGAGE US! Art for Social Change explores the works of Charlotte-based artists and activists of Latin-American descent who work with varied mediums, all of whom have distinct styles and artistic messages which reflect their diverse backgrounds and perspectives. These are artists whose work is informed by their immigrant status and upbringing in homes which synthesized the cultures of their countries of origin with new experiences wrought from the community they’ve found in Charlotte. Notably, the artists showcased in this exhibition use their work to express their identity, and as a mode of activism. Exhibition artist Edwin Gil notes that he uses his work “to help others to heal,” and to connect between cultures, with pieces like his current Human Landscapes series, which reflects his experiences as a “human transplanted into another culture,” but also invites the viewer to see the beauty in differences between culture and history. Our differences in tradition and background are not dividing factors, but unifiers. We all must learn from each other. Exhibition artists Irisol Gonzalez and Rosalia Torres Weiner allow their personal experiences to influence their work, as well, though they focus instead on their diverse backgrounds as women. Gonzalez’s mural Lavarse Las Manos, questions the gender roles and traditions conventional to Latin American culture, communicating through the piece’s scale and gazes of the women the emotionally fraught history of a woman’s labor.
Rosalia Torres Weiner utilizes a practice she calls “Artivism,” to involve her work in the processes of civic and community engagement, ranging from accessible, mobile art workshops to her series The Dreamers, which platforms the stories of DACA individuals utilizing an augmented reality program. Important is the personal perspective of Colombia-born exhibition artist Nico Amortegui, who employs a myriad of mediums to express his creative family history and experiences living in the United States from the late 1990’s onward. Amortegui’s current focus is on large-scale paintings on canvas or wood panels and working with found-object elements. Amortegui takes an external perspective on traditional views of women in his work, specifically in the piece Wonder Woman Melting, which underscores the “interconnected relationship of women’s issues, no matter the country.” Each artist was selected for the unique storytelling quality of their work, ranging from the persona to the historical and political. These artists express their histories and traditions resiliently, synthesizing them with newfound experiences in the charged landscape of contemporary America. As makers, they underscore the importance of community and activism, each advocating for empathy and understanding. Present in this show is a sense of unity, incredibly important in an era so defined by division.
Curated by Siu Challons-Lipton, Executive Director of Art, Design & Music in collaboration with Michele Shaul, Director of The Center for Latino Studies Queens University of Charlotte.
This exhibit is open daily from January 27 through April 14, 2023.
Monday, April 10, 2023
Sarah Belk Gambrell Center for the Arts and Civic Engagement, Bank of America and Loevner galleries
2319 Wellesley Ave, Charlotte, NC 28207