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New Nave exhibit showcases young, talented Latino artists

By BY APRILL BRANDON - ABRANDON@VICAD.COM
Oct. 22, 2009 at 5:22 a.m.

Above: Artwork by Santiago Forero, whose work will be on display along with  other artists in the Tres Latinos exhibit at the Nave Museum.Left: Artwork by Carlos Donjuan.

Above: Artwork by Santiago Forero, whose work will be on display along with other artists in the Tres Latinos exhibit at the Nave Museum.Left: Artwork by Carlos Donjuan.

It's not easy for a young artist to catch a break, but the Nave Museum is bucking tradition and showcasing a whole new generation of Latino artists in its latest exhibit "Tres Latinos."

Exhibit curator Ann Harithas traveled throughout the state in order to find talented, up-and-coming young artists to be featured in the show, she said, adding that all three artists are under the age of 30.

"Tres Latinos" will be showcasing the works of:

Carlos Donjuan, 27, Dallas

Growing up in a rough neighborhood in Dallas, Donjuan found solace in graffiti. But rather than using it as a destructive force, Donjuan used it as an art form.

"I learned a lot of art elements from graffiti and it actually was what got me interested into art..."Donjuan combines his academic side with his graffiti roots to create paintings.

"My work is a mix of two worlds, my skills as a painter and as a graffiti artist," he said. "Most of my paintings are autobiographical, dealing with things I've dealt with and subcultures I'm involved in."

Donjuan added that while there are many negative connotations associated with graffiti, when done correctly and when artists learn the history behind it, it's something much more beautiful than just vandalism.

Juan de Dios Mora, 25, San Antonio

Living in border towns most of his life, de Dios Mora is inspired by border issues, with a focus on illegal immigrants, he said.

"I wanted to show what people don't see. Sometimes it's beautiful, sometimes it's bad and ironic," he said. "What I hope people take away from my work is that this is an issue not just in the news, but something that people actually go through. It's happening right now, not 20 years ago, not two years ago, but right now. And it will happen in the future."

De Dios Mora added that this is his first big show.

"It's wonderful to get to experience this and that we have the help of people like Ann and Jim Harithas helping emerging artists reach their goals," he said.

Santiago Forero, 29, Austin

Originally from Columbia, Forero's photos focus on staging over-the-top scenes that highlight social and political issues in an almost cartoon way that explores color and light, he said.

"I try to capture the climax of an event without telling what happened before or after," he added.

At one time interested in filmmaking, his work also reflects a cinematic quality.

"I work with the language of cinema to question the assumptions by generating tension and uncertainty, reflecting ideas related to self-struggle of the characters I photograph with their own stereotypical role in society," he said in his artist's statement.

Also on display will be papier-mache skulls in honor of El Dia de los Muertos, which were created by students in the art clubs at Memorial High School. The project was part of the Manhattan Art Program.


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