Ogden, Utah, USA
October 1, 2021 – November 27, 2021
This Fall, OCA Center hosts an exhibition of twenty-four Latin American and Latinx contemporary artists whose work responds to relevant themes in relation to social and racial justice. The exhibited artists offer local, national and international perspectives through multiple disciplines including painting, sculpture, photography, installation, performance, digital art and more. Vida, Muerte, Justicia is a collaboration between Ogden Contemporary Arts, Weber State University’s Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery, curator Jorge Rojas and associate curator Maria del Mar González-González. The exhibition opens on October 1st at OCA Center and the WSU Shaw Gallery Project Space during Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll from 6-9pm, with a VIP reception for OCA members from 4-6pm at OCA Center. Corresponding curatorial talks and programming will be held at WSU over the course of the exhibition.
“Themes of life, death, and justice have been inextricably linked throughout history,” says Rojas, who is a Mexican artist, curator and educator based in Salt Lake City. “We’re looking at these concepts through the rich and complex lens of Latin American culture, which encompasses many countries, peoples and visual languages.”
Rojas and González-González, assistant professor of global modern and contemporary art history at WSU, intentionally selected artists in various stages of their careers whose work responds to a number of current issues and movements including immigration reform, racial justice, femicide, Black Lives Matter and much more. The exhibited artists identify nationally as Mexican, Colombian, Chilean, Nicaraguan and Dominican, among others. Important conversations surrounding ethnic and gender identity within this community are also addressed, as artists in the show also self-identify as Chicano, Nuyorican, or Latinx. This group includes multiple international and museum-level exhibiting artists such as Harry Gamboa Jr., Guillermo Galindo, Tania Candiani and others. Prominent Utah artists include Andrew Alba, Nancy Rivera, Horacio Rodriguez, and Roots Art Kollective, who will paint a mural inside The Monarch as part of the exhibition.
Latin American and Latino/Hispanic peoples make up the largest ethnic or racial minority in our country, as well as our local community, making this an especially significant exhibition for Utah and the art world at large. These artists have played a significant role in calling out social injustice on local, national and international levels, creating relevant work that inspires action and change. “As we look back on one of the most difficult years in recent history due to COVID-19 and global political and social uprising, this exhibition invites audiences to reflect on many of the issues that have taken center stage, as well as the movements that have united us to work toward justice,” says Rojas and González-González. “…By exploring connections between life, death, and justice, these artists and this exhibition aim to raise awareness, educate, build community, and inspire action, while providing space for reflection, mourning, and collective healing.”
Vida, Muerte, Justicia extends from OCA Center to Weber State University, where Galindo and Candiani’s work will be exhibited at the WSU Shaw Gallery Project Space in the Kimball Visual Arts Building. Curatorial talks and performances will also be held at WSU with the visiting artists, providing opportunities for students and community members to engage on the important topics brought forth through this exhibition. This theme extends to partner events throughout the community; please see additional information below for a full schedule of events and programming related to the exhibition.
—Text by Kelly Carper, Art Writer
Andrew Alba, Blanka Amezkua, Tania Candiani, Ruby Chacon, Esperanza Cortes, Amelec Diaz, Alexis Duque, Patricia Espinosa, David Rios Ferreira, Guillermo Galindo, Scherezade Garcia, Las Hermanas Iglesias, Harry Gamboa Jr., Roots Art Kollective, Tamara Kostianovsky, Jessica Lagunas, Shaun Leonardo, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, Michael Pribich, Lina Puerta, Nancy Rivera, Horacio Rodriguez, Jaime Trinidad ,Carlos Villalon.
Curator, Jorge Rojas
Born in Morelos, Mexico, Jorge Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist, independent curator, and educator. He studied Art at the University of Utah and at Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Rojas uses performance, visual art, and social engagement to examine cultural, social, and mediated forms of communication. His work and curatorial projects have been exhibited in museums and galleries nationally and internationally, including Museo del Barrio and Queens Museum of Art in New York; New World Museum and Project Row Houses in Houston; Utah Museum of Fine Arts and Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City; Ex Convento del Carmen, Guadalajara; and FOFA Gallery at Concordia University, Montreal. In 2009, Rojas founded Low Lives, an international, multi-venue online performance festival, where he served as director, producer, and curator, worked with over 200 artists in 25 countries, and collaborated with directors and curators from more than 30 partner organizations in 12 countries.
Associate curator, Maria del Mar González-González
María del Mar González-González, PhD is an assistant professor of global modern and contemporary art history at Weber State University. Specializing in the fields of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latinx art, with a research focus on the intersection of art and politics, her work investigates the interrelations among exhibitions, printmaking, and representation in the San Juan Graphic Arts Biennial and Triennial. Dr. González-González’s scholarly work and teaching interests extend to socially engaged practices, decolonization, the history of collecting and museums, and reprographic arts. Her academic writing has been published in Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Caiana: Journal of Art History and Visual Culture of the Centro Argentino de Investigadores de Arte, and numerous art exhibition catalogs.
Ogden Contemporary Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that creates and shares globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advanced arts programing in Ogden, Utah. OCA’s vision is to inspire local and regional artists through active involvement with the international contemporary art community. OCA strives to be viewed as a credible and internationally respected art establishment while empowering artists with the facilities, environment and experience to excel in their medium and enrich their lives.
The Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery presents contemporary art exhibitions and educational programs that provide visitors access to the art of our times. The Shaw gallery aspires to engage a diverse audience, create a sense of community, provide insight into the creative process, and challenge visitors to contemplate, discuss and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of contemporary art. It serves the Department of Visual Art & Design, Weber State University and the community of Northern Utah by presenting the work of local, regional and nationally recognized artists, including new work, emerging media and original scholarship.
This exhibition is made possible by: Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Weber County RAMP, Dr. Ezekiel R. & Edna Wattis Dumke Foundation, Utah Office of Tourism, and Ogden City Arts.