Two Cultures, One Family: Building Family, Finding Home
The Weaving Our Cultures Arts Festival (WoCAF) and the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art are proud to present Two Cultures, One Family: Building Family, Finding Home. With this exhibition, Dr. Erika Abad draws on her personal experience as the daughter of a historically multiracial family to curate a selection of artists who invite us to ask questions about the way ideas around family, gender, sex, and reproductive justice are negotiated today.
Dr. Abad’s curation moves across a wide array of media, encompassing paintings, sculptures, poetry, textiles, zines, videos, and drawings. Her themes range from reproductive genocide to the choices that LGBTQ+ American families are forced to make now that numerous states are pushing for trans- and homo- antagonistic legislation.
The artists she has chosen include Chris E. Vargas, the founder of the Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art; the influential self-taught Chicano realist Hector Silva; and the formerly-undocumented Arizonan artist Gabriela Muñoz, as well as local artists such as Keeva Lough, Lyssa Park, and Xochil Xitlalli. Two Cultures, One Family features new work created specifically for this exhibition by the nation-spanning duo of Lisa and Janelle Iglesias (also known as Las Hermanas Iglesias), the Portland-based artist Lisa Jarrett (co-founder of Art 25, a collective dedicated to Black and Indigenous artists), and Las Vegas’ own Krystal Ramirez. The curator asks us to reflect on past injustices with the inclusion of "¿Y Tu Abuela Donde Esta?" (Where is Your Grandmother?), a popular poem about racial hypocrisy by the Puerto Rican poet Fortunato Vizcarrondo (1895-1977).
“I hope this exhibition helps people feel seen,” Dr. Abad says. “To have their families feel seen. Two Cultures is a love letter to my mother and grandmother. While our struggles are different, I am here because of them – a testament to their resilience and sacrifice.”
Two Cultures, One Family: Building Family, Finding Home features work by Abayomi Brownfield, Fawn Douglas, Justin Favela, Noelle Garcia, Q’Shaundra James, Lisa Jarrett, Las Hermanas Iglesias, Keeva Lough, Linda Garcia Merchant, Gabriela Muñoz, Jean Munson, Lyssa Park, Krystal Ramirez, Hector Silva, Rose B. Simpson, Lance L. Smith, Chris E. Vargas, Fortunato Vizcarrondo, and Xochil Xitlalli.
The curator would like to give special thanks to her mother Aurea Abad, her sister Melissa Abad, and her aunt Cynthia Perry, in addition to the WoCAF collective, her friends and colleagues, Blanca Rincon, Iesha Jackson, and Doris Watson for supporting her throughout this venture.
About the Curator
Erika Abad, Ph.D. is an incoming Assistant Professor of Communication at Nevada State College. A former faculty-in-residence for UNLV’s Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies program, Dr. Abad has been living in the Las Vegas Valley since 2016. Dr. Abad has collaborated with the Marjorie Barrick Museum since 2018, when she documented visitor interaction with Mary Corey March’s Identity Tapestry installation and gave a related lecture titled, “Who are we and How do we Heal?” She has written on exhibits and artists' work for Settlers and Nomads, Latinx Spaces, and Dry Heat. She has been featured on The Art People Podcast, Latinos Who Lunch, and Seeing Color. You can follow her on Instagram @prof_eabad. This exhibit, inspired by “Mothers and Daughters in the US”, a course she created at UNLV, brings full circle the conversation of what it means to excavate the socio-political conditions of our foremothers to better understand why we exist in the world the way we do.
About the Artists
Abayomi Brownfield is a multidisciplinary artist who creates representations of Black futures grounded in African and Afro-Indigenous cultural practices and cosmologies. In 2021 she was an inaugural Roots Division Bay Area Black Artist Studio Fellow. Brownfield has a BA in African Decoloniality in Art & History from Mills College.
Justin Favela is a Las Vegas-based artist whose installations and sculptures manifest his interactions with American pop culture and the Latinx experience. Much of his oeuvre revolves around inventive reimaginings of piñatas. He has exhibited his work in venues across the United States, including the Sugar Hills Children’s Museum (NYC), the Museo de las Americas (CO), and the Phoenix Art Museum (AZ).
The artist and activist Fawn Douglas is an enrolled member of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe. Her studio practice includes painting, weaving, sculpture, dance, and other types of performance. Douglas tells stories in order to remember the past and ensure the stories of Indigenous peoples are heard in the present. She is the founder of Nuwu Art + Activism Studios, a studio, gallery, and event space in Las Vegas.
Noelle Garcia, a Chicago-based artist from the Klamath and Paiute tribes, focuses on themes of identity, family history, and recovered narratives. Her paintings, drawings, and sculptures have been exhibited in galleries and institutions across the United States. Garcia has earned awards and fellowships from various institutions such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Nevada Arts Council. She received her MFA from UNLV in 2012.
Q’Shaundra James is a Las Vegas painter who creates contemporary portraits and depictions of historical figures with the aim of enabling Black Americans to envision themselves outside white America’s prescribed narrative. Her work has been exhibited in venues across Southern Nevada.
Lisa Jarrett is an artist and educator whose intersectional practice considers the politics of difference within a variety of settings. Jarrett is an Associate Professor of Community and Context Arts at Portland State University. She is co-founder and co-director of the Dr Martin Luther King Jr School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA), the Harriet Tubman Middle School Center for Expanded Curatorial practice, and the art collective Art 25: Art in the 25th Century.
Las Hermanas Iglesias is a project-based collaboration between artists Lisa and Janelle Iglesias. As the children of Norwegian and Dominican immigrants, the sisters produce trans-disciplinary work that explores issues of hybridity, social participation, and transnational identities. Individually, each sister has exhibited internationally and across the U.S. Sometimes they collaborate with their mother, Bodhild.
Keeva Lough uses video and performance to explore gender, social structures, and their effects on the body. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2012 with a BA in Film & Media Studies and is currently an MFA candidate at UNLV. Her work has been exhibited in Oklahoma, Nevada, Missouri, and France.
Linda Garcia Merchant is a writer, archivist, and filmmaker. She is the founder of Voces Primeras, LLC, a production company that creates and distributes documentary features about groundbreaking Latinas, and the co-founder of the Chicana Por Mi Raza Digital Memory Collective, a national oral history project documenting second wave Latina feminists.
The work of Gabriela Muñoz is rooted in her experiences as a migrant who lived in Arizona, undocumented, for more than a decade. Her practice is concerned with movements of social justice and racial equality. Muñoz’s work has been exhibited at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (AZ), the University of Arizona Art Museum, and the U.S./Mexico border fence.
Jean Munson is a feminist Filipina activist, cartoonist, and podcaster from Guam who uses comic books to empower those who have been historically underrepresented and misrepresented by the medium. She is a graduate of UNLV and a co-founder of the Las Vegas comics company, Plot Twist Publishing. Her publications include Magic Glasses and Stretch Marks: a Psychological Autobiography.
Lyssa Park is a Las Vegas-based artist who explores narrative through illustration, books and hand-crafted objects, using a variety of approaches including pen-and-ink, collage, digital media, screen printing, risograph printing, and sculpture. She has a BFA in illustration from the California College of the Arts. Currently she is a MFA candidate at UNLV.
Krystal Ramirez is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is centered around class, labor, and consumption of the brown body. She chooses materials that highlight impermanence and spirituality, hinting at the weightless and hallucinatory existence of immigrants with no history. Born and raised in Las Vegas, she is currently a MFA candidate in Art Practice at Stanford University.
Hector Silva is a self-taught artist based in Los Angeles. He uses drawing as a way to explore themes of cultural identity, eroticism, and beauty, focusing on Latino street culture and queer visibility. His work has been exhibited in numerous venues, including the Museum of Latin American Art (CA), the Museum of Mexican American Art (IL), and the Autry Museum of the American West (CA).
Rose B. Simpson is a mixed-media artist living in Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. Her work includes ceramic sculpture, metals, fashion, performance, music, installation, writing, and custom cars. She received an MFA in Ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011, an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2018, is collected in museums across the continent, and has exhibited internationally.
Lance L. Smith is a Las Vegas-based artist, illustrator, muralist, and teacher whose work often explores themes of loss, distortion, and liberatory practices. They have been featured in local and national venues, including the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, Nevada Humanities Gallery, and the Bellevue Botanical Garden (WA). Smith is the Director of Rogers Art Loft, an artist residency in downtown Las Vegas.
Chris E. Vargas is a video maker and interdisciplinary artist whose work deploys humor and performance in conjunction with mainstream idioms to explore the complex ways that LGBTQ+ people negotiate spaces for themselves within historical and institutional memory and popular culture. His work has been exhibited internationally, with screenings at the Tate Modern (UK), Palais de Tokyo (France), LACE (CA), and other venues. He is the Executive Director of the Museum of Transgender Herstory & Art, an ongoing conceptual project.
Fortunato Vizcarrondo Y Rodón was a musician and a poet. Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, in 1895, he published three books of poetry: Dinga y mandinga (1942), Primavera y otoñales (1961) and Sonetos puertorriqueños (1968). His poems were often recited and set to music. ¿Y Tu Abuela Donde Esta? – or ¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá? in the local dialect he adopted for the poem’s fictional Afro-Puerto Rican speaker – has been recorded several times. Vizcarrondo died in 1977.
Xochil Xitlalli is a self-taught Las Vegas-based artist and activist who shares the ways of her Nahua ancestors through a variety of mediums. She works in painting, clay sculpture, jewelry, textiles, and digital arts. Recently she has focused on depicting Aztec astrological symbols, companions, and guides from her personal spiritual practice.
About The Weaving Our Cultures Arts Festival (WoCAF)
WoCAF is a powerful platform committed to generating more art events that highlight the work of local artists. In 2022, Women of Color Arts Festival recognized the need to change its name to Weaving Our Culture Arts Festival to reflect the gender diversity of the collective and the artists it supports.
About the Architecture Studies Library
The Architecture Studies Library (ASL), part of UNLV's University Libraries, serves students and faculty in the School of Architecture and College of Fine Arts, with an emphasis on resources and information about the professional fields of architecture, building and construction, urban planning, landscape architecture, and interior design. The ASL is also home to a Special Collections area devoted to the subjects of art, architecture, and design. Learn more about the ASL at www.library.unlv.edu/arch.
About the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art believes everyone deserves access to art that challenges our understanding of the present and inspires us to create a future that holds space for us all. Located on the campus of one of the most racially diverse university in the United States, we strive to create a nourishing environment for those who continue to be neglected by contemporary art museums, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ groups. As the only art museum in the city of Las Vegas, we commit ourselves to leveling barriers that limit access to the arts, especially for first-time visitors. To facilitate access for low-income guests we provide free entry to all our exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and community activities. Our collection of artworks offers an opportunity for researchers and scholars to develop a more extensive knowledge of contemporary art in Southern Nevada. The Barrick Museum is part of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
All of the museum’s galleries are accessible to wheelchair users and other visitors who cannot use stairs. Services such as sign language interpretation can be arranged. Please contact the museum to discuss your needs: firstname.lastname@example.org, 702-895-3381.
Visitors may park in metered, staff, and student spots free of charge after 7 pm on weekdays, 1 pm on Fridays, and all day Saturday.
Daily, weekly, or monthly permits can be purchased from Parking and Transportation Services.
Metered parking spaces for visitors can be found in the parking lot outside the Barrick’s entrance, along East Harmon Ave, and in the lot behind the Lied Library. Other metered green zones are available in the Cottage Grove Avenue Parking Garage and parking areas throughout campus. Download the “PayByPhone Parking” app from Google Play or the iTunes app store.
The exhibition will have an opening reception on the evening of September 2, 2022. Entry to the museum is free and open to the public. Masks are recommended.
More info on this event
The Intersection, the Psi Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Women's Research Institute of Nevada, and the UNLV University Libraries with assistance from Art, Architecture and Design Librarian Richard Saladino.