Now that we’re halfway through Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), it’s probably a good moment to think about how to take advantage of this time in order to learn more about the contributions of Latino/as to this country. One convenient way to commemorate this month is to head to the Snite Museum of Art to see the “Counter-Archives to the Narco-City” exhibit, which features artwork by two U.S. Latina artists: Alma Leiva (Honduras) and Adriana Corral (El Paso). Although this exhibit is a must-see for all Spanish, Latino Studies and Latin American Studies majors and minors, the beauty about it is that it addresses a series of themes that will appeal to a wide audience. Some of these include: human rights, children’s rights, family life, violence (narco and State), crime, death, poverty, life, play, justice, education, history, Christianity, indigenous beliefs, survival, trauma, politics and neo-colonialism, among others.
Inspired by the conditions in their countries of origin, Leiva and Corral try to convey the effects of extreme violence on individuals, families and communities. With the advantage that spatial and temporal distance affords them, they each address — in very different ways — what it means to live in two of the most violent cities in the world: Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and San Pedro Sula, Honduras. And in addressing that violence, their art forces us to reconsider the role that the United States also plays in this context. It’s practically impossible to remain unmoved by this art because despite its deceptive simplicity, its stories speak truthfully about social justice and human rights.
Students of art, literature, history, religion, politics, psychology, economics, poverty, gender, race, ethnicity, education, Latin America and Latino/a Studies, will get a lot out of this exhibit. So, if you have 15-20 minutes that you want to spend wisely, head to the Snite and be ready to experience engaged art. Luckily, the exhibit closes on Dec. 13, so if you can’t make it during Hispanic Heritage Month, you still have time.
Bonus: The exhibit reception will take place on Oct. 8, from 4-6 PM and is open to the public. Both artists, Alma Leiva and Adriana Corral, will be present as well as the co-curators: Tatiana Reinoza and Luis Vargas-Santiago. See the exhibit website for more information: http://sniteartmuseum.nd.edu/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/counter-archives-to-the-narco-city/