Son de Allá y Son de Acá

Exhibition Title: Son de Allá y Son de Acá

Curated by: Rigoberto Luna, Christian Ramírez, Vicente Telles, and Ricardo Islas in collaboration with Chicano Park Museum.

Description: Over 40 Chicano/a/x and Latino/a/x artists from across the American Southwest converge at Chicano Park Museum.

Opening Date: October 7, 2023
Closing Date: TBD

Curator Statement: Through our series of exhibitions titled Son de Allá y Son de Acá, our goal is to bring awareness to the Chicano/a and Latino/a creatives living and working in underrepresented and marginalized areas. We aim to bridge art communities, create awareness of new voices, foster communication, increase opportunities, and expand our understanding socially, culturally, and historically between artists across state borders. This cross-border exchange highlights the shared historical and socio-political ties between states within the U.S.-American Southwest, predating the Spanish conquest to current complexities at the U.S.-Mexico border. The exhibition features emerging and well-established artists in drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, fiber, action figures, sculpture, and performance. It reveals the impact of place in shaping the identity and practice of artists working in landscapes with deeply shared histories while uncovering the common threads and examining the similarities of parallel narratives, cultures, and heritage.

Son de Allá y Son de Acá is an ambitious project that amplifies the voices of contemporary Chicano/a and Latino/a artists and showcases contemporary art that transcends boundaries and celebrates the cultural diversity of the American Southwest. Through a multidisciplinary showcase, visitors can witness a convergence of communities where art is a universal language of unity. The exhibition invites viewers to experience the vibrant art found in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas Chicano/a and Latino/a communities to inspire cross-communication and dismantling assumptions of Southwestern art. The exhibition paves a pathway for artists of diverse backgrounds, emphasizing that their identities are not monolithic. At the same time, they recognize the similarities that bind them and the interconnections that make them stronger together—simultaneously combating the long-standing exclusion of their narratives in institutions across the Southwest to represent their presence accurately while highlighting the practice of innovative contemporary Latino artists who utilize a variety of mediums to capture the essence of place and experience. Fiber works resonate with tales of labor and tradition, paintings celebrating identity and family, and sculptural work crafted from the everyday artifacts of the U.S.-Mexico border form a visual language of the border towns’ complexity and migration narratives. Each approach and medium becomes a conduit for expression, inviting visitors to step into their world to feel the pulse of their communities.

About Son de Allá y Son de Acá

In 2021, after visiting the Presa House Gallery, Vicente Telles approached the gallery’s Co-founder and Director, Rigoberto Luna, about creating an artist exchange. Telles was interested in exhibiting his work at Presa House, an art space heavily focused on Latinx artists in Central and South Texas located in San Antonio, along with two close friends, artists based in San Diego and Albuquerque, respectively. Telles felt that weaving BIPOC artists from Texas and California with local New Mexico artists would inspire and expose them to a new crop of out-of-state artists and thinkers while bringing much-needed attention to their largely overlooked region, simultaneously uniting creative communities across the American Southwest. 

In April 2022, their first collaboration hosted by Presa House Gallery, Crossing Borders: Tres del Oeste, a three-person exhibition, featured Ricardo Islas of San Diego, Brandon Maldonado, and Vicente Telles from Albuquerque. In August of 2022, Islas, Luna, and Telles combined their resources and know-how and financed and curated a multi-city, multi-venue group exhibition that united their communities and transcended borders, Son de Allá y Son de Acá, opened across four venues in Albuquerque, New Mexico, including Tortuga Gallery, El Chante: Casa de Cultura, the South Broadway Cultural Center, and Exhibit/208 and brought together sixty artists representing New Mexico, Texas, California, Colorado, and Arizona. 

Following the success of their second installment, Islas, Luna, and Telles approached Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center in San Diego as a prospective host for their third collaboration. The exhibition would feature ten artists from California, New Mexico, and Texas and invite ten additional Arizona artists. The project would also introduce to the curatorial team the addition of Christian Ramírez, the Assistant Curator of Contemporary and Community Art Initiatives at Phoenix Art Museum. With her inclusion, the group would fully curatorially represent the four states along the lower Southwest region of the United States that border Mexico. The exhibition was approved in the Summer of 2023 and will open this Fall on the weekend of Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center’s one-year Anniversary on October 7, 2023.

About the Curators 

Ricardo Islas (b.1970) was born and raised in Calexico, California, which is 120 miles East of San Diego, on the border of Mexico. Islas moved to San Diego in 1991, where he has been painting for the past 22 years. His work deals with themes of Mexican and Chicano working-class cultures and social issues that span the two countries. 

Rigoberto Luna (b.1980) is a first-generation native of San Antonio, Texas, where he is co-founder and curator of Presa House Gallery. Luna has organized numerous exhibitions heavily focused on and advocating for Latinx artists living and working in Central and South Texas. His most recent projects included John Guzman: Flesh and Bones at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston and Museum and Soy de Tejas: A Statewide Survey of Latinx Art at Centro de Artes in San Antonio, Texas.

Christian Ramírez (b.1987) was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She is the assistant curator of contemporary community art initiatives at Phoenix Art Museum and the co-founder and co-curator of Everybody, a Tucson, AZ gallery that primarily works with emerging and perpetually-emerging artists. 

Vicente Telles (b.1983) was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a Santero (painter of saints) and Cultural Iconographer driven by the desire to honor the culture of his native New Mexico. To Telles, being a Santero and Cultural Iconographer means being a teacher, student, observer, and contemporary maker doing his part to keep his heritage and centuries of tradition alive and thriving.