Wednesday March 13, 2019 noon to 1pm 90.1fm KKFI
Producer/host Maria Vasquez Boyd welcomes artist/educator Bernadette Torres and gallery owner/artist Israel Alejandro Garcia Garcia.
Isreal Alejandro Garcia Garcia-Bordes Carnosos / Border Carnage ‘MoLCA’ will be an evolving, traveling exhibit documenting the immigrant experience, including archival histories from three KC Latinx neighborhoods which have inevitable, painful ties to the borderlands of today (Westside and Northeast KCMO, and Argentine/Wyandotte KCK). It will investigate how Latinx peoples secure and maintain their cultural identity in a hostile environment, and explore the fight against gentrification, ‘border walls’ and systematic segregation. The goal of artist, curator and activist Israel Alejandro Garcia Garcia is to educate his community, giving some viewers a glimpse into the ‘other’ and exposing diverse populations in ‘art deserts’ to Latinx narratives.
The project will include 2 types of work: the first will be photographic social documentation housed in a 40’ shipping container, and the second is based on a physical barrier/border wall installation. The mobile ‘gallery’ will exhibit local Latinx archival footage as well as Israel’s own photography documenting these communities for the past 20 years.
Part of this R&D award will enable Israel to visit borderlands, in order to document, and retrieve physical, symbolic elements such as discarded border wall panels. He will gather objects that speak to the human pain and suffering experienced by migrants entering the U.S. Gathering an assemblage of ephemeral artifacts left behind by migrants during their deadly journey and presenting them here in the heart of the U.S. will, he believes, be a symbolic gesture that will bring the US-Mexico border home. It will provide the genesis for a dialogue about the lasting impact that Latinx communities have made in the shaping of the KCK/KCMO landscape and a offer a compelling representation of past, present and future issues.
Latinx communities of Kansas City’s Kansas and Missouri metro areas have a long and influential history, dating back to the mid-1800s. These communities have undergone huge changes (economic, geographic and demographic) throughout the past century that have shaped their identities today. With a current combined population of roughly 220,000 in the KCK/KCMO metro area and an estimated 5-10% yearly growth, they are a population that cannot be ignored.
Israel’s experience as Creative Director/Curator of a contemporary art gallery focused on Latin American narratives has prepared him for the research, development and implementation of a complex exhibition such as this. His exhibitions have served both local and national communities, and his own artwork has documented a personal and collective cultural history. As a new citizen he feels the need to explore issues that were once paralyzing barriers to his own studio/curatorial practice. Having survived crossing the border as a child, he found sanctuary in a safe place. Today he is taking up the burden of sharing the narratives of those who did not survive.
As an artist Israel Alejandro Garcia Garcia’s work is layered with his personal experiences and unanswered questions, in an attempt to understand the process as a reflection of self. Whether creating methodically through style and technique or through organic and abstract thought, he reflects on the development of his work and understands how it is an interpretation of his conscious, subconscious and physical existence. He has come to view his studio practice as a manifestation of internal emotion, stored memories, pertinent socio-political issues, and raw passion for creation. Similarly, his body of work narrates his autobiography through visual translation, telling the stories of his ancestors, elders, peers, and community.
For Israel, the larger picture involves providing a medium through which any collective of people can address the issues impacting themselves and greater society. He envisions a cultural artistic landscape that fully values and integrates the essential contributions of an expanding Latinx field of arts, and its dynamic workforce and communities. www.garciasquared.com
Bernadette Torres-As a storyteller I communicate with my hands translating stories into clay. My sculptures are autobiographical narratives with animal imagery, such as Java Sparrow Finch birds as symbols of humanity, facets of myself or of others. My birds are both cheerleaders and naysayers to me. My sculptures serve as spirit guides that manifest intentions, relieve anxieties, and whisper secrets. As a daughter of a florist, flowers are intrinsic to my sculptures they create a dialogue internal to my work. Flowers are always present and dying at monumental life changing ceremonies. Currently I am working on a Blooming series of soft slab hand built female nude figures with ceramic flowers and another series called Fragrance of Memory. Each wheel thrown large wall mounted platter is a memory that multiplies. My technique of throwing on the wheel and hand building allows a personal connection with my clay and forms. This intimacy is imperative for me to process my emotions and stories into clay and create meaning with images, which empowers me in all aspects of my life. The manipulating of my clay not only creates sculptures, but also builds me as an artist, an educator, and a woman.
Bernadette Torres will be the featured artist at Garcia Squared Contemporary, exhibit opening First Friday June 7 and First Fridays July 5, and August 2. The exhibiton runs through August 17th.
Garcia Squared Contemporary is located at 115 W. 18th St. KCMO 64108 www.garciasquared.com