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Exhibition Dates | February 13th—March 14th, 2015

Opening Reception • Friday, February 13th, 6-9 PM

For press inquiries and additional info contact:
Renato Olmedo-González | Gallery Director and Curator | Mestizo Gallery
mestizo.gallery@gmail.com | (801) 824-9122

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Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts to Present Exhibition Featuring Women as Creators, Protectors and Transmitters of Culture

 Salt Lake City, UT—Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts | MICA is pleased to present Creadoras de Cultura: Activismo y Espiritualidad (Creators of Culture: Activism and Spirituality), a two-women exhibition featuring Ruby Chacón, co-founder of Mestizo Gallery | Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts, and Natalia Deeb-Sossa. Creadoras de Cultura: Activismo y Espiritualidad will showcase Ruby Chacón’s paintings and Natalia Deeb-Sossa’s photographs depicting multigenerational women engaged in active roles as creators, protectors and transmitters of cultura, culture, through a Chicana feminist lens.

 Chacón will present a series of portraits exploring the spiritual dance form of Mexika Danzante (also known as danza conchera) through multigenerational portraits of women. Traditionally, this form of dance occurs in Chicano/a and Mexican-American communities throughout the United States and functions as an exercise of cultural reclamation of indigenous spiritual traditions with the aim of eliminating European and colonial oppressive thought systems. Although this dance form often functions as an empowering political and spiritual tool against cultural oppression for many Chicanos/as, its practice, in many communities, has perpetuated some aspects of patriarchal society by objecting and negating women leadership roles. Chacón’s multigenerational Danzante Women paintings respond to the artist’s own experience navigating these contexts defined by patriarchy and strive to combat the many layers of hierarchal societal structure of power that continue to be overlooked and imposed on many Chicano/a communities. Furthermore, Chacón aims to acknowledge women’s contributions in leadership within this ancestral spiritual practice.

 Deeb-Sossa, as a feminist Chicana researcher who is currently examining how immigrants, as cultural citizens, are negotiating power and resisting practices and policies of inequity in their local communities, uses her camera to highlight how immigrants in the US claim identity, space, and rights. Through her photographs, Deeb-Sossa reminds the audience how “cultural production” and addressing “social rights” is transmitted. Transmission—from generation to generation and individual to individual—takes form through language, material objects, ritual, institutions, and art. Deeb-Sossa’s photographs explore how women not only create culture but are also teachers of the culture.

“Creadoras de Cultura: Activismo y Espiritualidad recognizes the important role women take in transmitting knowledge to subsequent generations” says Ruby Chacón, “not only for the livelihood of our spirits but also for our survival, to be rooted in our identities that we, as women, firmly define and strengthen.”

 Ruby Chacón is a Chicana painter, muralist and community activist from Salt Lake City, UT but currently based in Sacramento, CA. Through her work Chacón creates a counter narrative for empowerment in place of disenfranchisement. As an artist, Chacón aims to bridge multigenerational, multicultural, diverse socio-economic, professional and educational experiences by claiming public space in order to create a sense of belonging in art. In 2003, Chacón co-founded Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts.

 Natalia Deeb-Sossa is an Associate Professor in Chicana/o Studies Department at the University of California, Davis. Deeb-Sossa is a Chicana feminist cultural photographer, born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia who came to the US in 2005 for graduate school. Her photographs help bring to light the organizing efforts within immigrant and farm working communities in the US as well while also celebrating their acts of solidarity, shared survival strategies, and cultural celebrations.

 This exhibition is organized by Mestizo Gallery. Support for this exhibition has been provided by Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) program, Community Shares Utah, Salt Lake City Arts Council, Salt Lake Community College School of Arts, Communication & Media, Una Mano Amiga peer mentoring program, the University of Utah Press, the University of Utah English Department Student Committee and Mestizo Coffeehouse.

 RELATED PROGRAMMING
Creadoras de Cultura
Artist Talk and Presentation
Thursday, February 12th, 12 PM and 6 PM (two presentations)

In conjunction with Salt Lake Community College School of Art, Communication and Media, Ruby Chacón and Natalia Deeb-Sossa will give two free and open to the public presentations about their life and work. Thursday, February 12th at 12 PM and 6 PM in SLCC’s Center for Arts and Media’s Multipurpose Room (South City Campus).

 Opening Reception
Friday, February 13th, 6-9 PM

Free and open to the public opening reception with artists Ruby Chacón and Natalia Deeb-Sossa. Please note that this exhibition’s opening reception will take place the Friday before SLC’s February Gallery Stroll.

 Visiting Poet Kara Candito
Friday, February 20th, 7 PM

In conjunction with the University of Utah Press, Mestizo Gallery will host visiting poet Kara Candito, who will read a collection of poems centered on the struggle of a U.S. citizen and a Mexican citizen to find a common space and language in their relationship while navigating the U.S. immigration system.

 Proof Rock Poetry Series Presents: Celebrating Global Literature Poetry Night
Monday, March 2nd, 7pm

In conjunction with the undergraduate English Department’s student committee of the University of Utah, Mestizo Gallery will host “Proof Rock Poetry Series, ” a night celebrating critical and significant contributions of global literature, with a focus in highlighting Chicana and Latina experiences as well as other significant poetry and writings from women of color.

Image Credit: (From left to right) Ruby Chacón, Multigenerational Danzante Women Series, acrylic on canvas, 2014 | Natalia Deeb-Sossa, Colors of Culture Series (35 mm and Digital, 2005 – present), 35 mm photography, 2009.

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Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts is a non-profit organization that strives to enrich community through art and civic engagement and seeks to give underrepresented artists and communities in Salt Lake City a voice. www.mestizoarts.org

MESTIZO GALLERY | MESTIZO INSTITUTE OF CULTURE & ARTS
631 W. North Temple Suite 700 (Inside of Mestizo Coffeehouse)

Salt Lake City, UT 84116

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