Friday, October 14, 2011

Día de los muertos, Latino Heritage style

If you drop by La Pintoresca Library over the next couple of weeks you'll see some art that connects with Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead.

There is work by artists Ester Petschar and Rebeca Guerrero. And there is an ofrenda, a table filled with memories and perceptions of Gilbert "Magu" Lujan. We'll have a "color in the page" version of the car below, for young people to take time to have their eyes opened to cars that were so important in an era that is more than a half century ago. In this we are sharing history in a slightly different way than you may have learned reading your high school textbooks. You'll have a chance to see a Chicano icon's expression of his perception of his culture - an expression of time and place that also expresses a sense of identity.

As you go through the library or as you see images of the era 1946-1955, it's easy to remember how important the car was, especially to young men. It was often an expression of how they saw themselves. Taking care of your car, showed a certain dedication to care, to style, and to class. You might not own a home, but you could own a car. Magu, being the artist he was, took the car in a different direction.

(George Cuttress shared), "Magu liked a free flow of conversation with fellow artists on art and politics, calling the sessions "Mental Menudo."

He had a master's in fine arts degree and was a real intellectual, Cuttress said. But his art wasn't highbrow.

He employed cartoons, TV icons, altars, cars, cacti, burritos, peppers, Aztecs, feathered headdresses, pyramids and coyotes as motifs in a folk-art style with bright colors.

He called the world of his imagination "Magulandia," its landscapes, towns and characters representing his take on the mythical Mexican homeland of Aztlan.

"It was a place he could express all his art ideas," Naiche said.

In our interview, Magu said humor was his secret ingredient.

"I think humor softens people's view of my culture," Magu said."

1 comment:

Familia Barrera-Villegas said...

you forgot to mention the Mosaic Quartet adorning the adult section of the library. These were commissioned by Diane Walker. The "four elements" theme" of the quartet are rendered with colorful broken tile, by artist and photographer Aurelio Jose Barrera