“Caliban Revisited,” a juried exhibition of contemporary Latin American art just opened on June 7 at Da Vinci Art Alliance in Philadelphia. 15 artists are represented in the show, hailing from 8 different countries: Abel Vázquez, Ada Trillo, Ana Vizcarra Rankin, Brandon Lopez, Carlos A. Gil, Daniel Villarreal, Danny Torres, Jacqueline Unanue, Lina Cedeno, Marilyn Rodriguez, Melva Medina, Paula Meninato, Pedro Zagitt, Pedro Ospina. Henry Bermudez, originally from Venezuela, judged the artwork, and first, second and third place prizes were awarded. Casa de Duende organized the exhibition, which is subtitled: Of Castaways, Explorers, Amazons, Cannibals and Monsters. A Mythological Reimagining of Latin America in the 21st Century.
I attended the opening at the gallery and was excited to see this diverse collection of works. The media include sculpture, watercolor, acrylic, glass, oil on glass, photography, mixed media, as well as works on paper. Most of the artists were at the opening, along with David Acosta of Casa de Duende and Henry Bermudez. Both spoke at bit about the artists and the selection process. Mr. Bermudez stated that since the quality of the art was so high, it was very difficult to select the three winners. The themes that he considered when choosing were 1) that the work was political and referenced Latin American heritage and culture and 2) that it be contemporary.
First place winner Brandon Lopez, entered a glass sculpture:
Second place winner, Paula Meninato, is originally from Argentina. She entered portraits from “Memorias Persistentes.” This is a series of portraits of disappeared people from the military dictatorship, which began with the 1976 coup d’etat in Argentina. The subject matter is definitely political and historical and the medium, oil on glass, is not traditional.
Third place winner Ada Trillo, presented works in gold leaf on wood panel! This one is called “Rebirth.”
My personal favorites included photos by Pedro Zagitt from his “El pagador de promessas” series, and watercolors by Abel Vazquez. Zagitt photographed a reenactment in the street by Mexicans in Norristown at St. Patrick’s Church. “Via Crucis”:
Abel Vazquez, is an artist working in Mexico and his watercolors are somewhat abstract but reference nature:
Vazquez’ wife, Melva Medina, also exhibited interesting works in graphite and charcoal in Caliban Revisited.
The DVAA art gallery, which is on 704 Catherine Street in the Bella Vista area, is an intimate space and the curators have made the most of it. The descriptions of each piece is written in both Spanish and English. Caliban Revisited can be viewed until June 25, 2017. On June 25th there will be a closing reception with performances from 3-5 pm!