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Honoring Hispanic heritage through art

Posted at 12:22 PM, Sep 25, 2020

Art often provokes emotion and helps us travel back in time, teaching us about our ancestors.

“Hola, my name is Claudia Moran and I’m the Executive Director for Museo de las Americas,” Moran said.

At Museo de las Americas in Denver, Colorado, Latinx artists are given a space to represent their culture.

“Art is very powerful in the influence of Latinx artists and the history of art in the United States,” Moran said.

In the midst of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Museo is hosting an exhibition called Rhythm and Ritual.

“It’s an exhibition that showcases a pre-Columbian collection that focuses on musical instruments. And yes, it’s a very, very rare exhibition because we’re able to see many pre-Columbian exhibitions everywhere, but none that only focus on music,” Moran said.

The goal is to demonstrate the value of music since the pre-Columbian times and educate people on the type of music that was played 1,500 years ago. Museo de las Americas commissioned a local Hispanic artist to help tell that story. David Ocelotl Garcia is a sculpture and painter.

Garcia grew up in Colorado, but his parents are from Mexico.

“My mother is from Guadalajara, Jalisco, and my father is from Leon, Guanajuato,” Garcia said.

He says he feels connected to his culture and finds it beautiful.

“My heritage is very significant in my work, so I’ve learned to really study that and use it so that I can tell my own stories about where we are today.”

For the Rhythm and Ritual exhibition, he painted a mural he admired as a child.

“He reproduced an original mural from Bonampak in Mexico from the state of Chiapas, and this mural is a very accurate replica of a group of Mayan people playing different instruments,” Moran said.

“I believe they’re probably participating in a ceremony, so there’s many characters playing different instruments that many people, including myself, have never seen,” Garcia said.

Garcia says it’s important for people not to forget where they come from.

“Make sure we embrace our roots and our traditions and the way we do things and use that as a part of the way we advance and move forward,” Garcia said.

As we move forward as a society, Moran says we can learn from our ancestors and appreciate what different cultures have to bring to the table.

“We all should be very, very open to new ideas, don’t be scared of them, and embrace them because that’s what is going to take us through arts and our artistic lives to a whole new level,” Moran said.