We’re plunging into a difficult and uncertain time for most Americans, but especially for Latinx communities, immigrants and their allies. It’s more important than ever to stay strong, gather together and engage in dialogue. One of the best ways to do this is through the arts. The first quarter of 2017 brings a host of thought-provoking plays, exhibits, performances and more – all centered around issues of immigration and Hispanic culture. Mark your calendars.
An Evening with Margarita Cabrera
Phoenix Art Museum
At first glance, Margarita Cabrera’s fabric sculptures look like harmless desert plants and cuddly cactuses. But look closer. Those soft sculptures are fashioned from recycled Border Patrol uniforms and embroidered with individuals’ stories of immigration. Showing her work at the Desert Botanical Garden’s Space in Between exhibit through February 12, Cabrera sparks cultural dialogue through her multimedia sculptures. In this talk at the Phoenix Art Museum, she’ll discuss her collaboration with Latino communities and her efforts to document migrants’ struggles through art. Admission to the museum and the talk is free as part of #FreeAfterThree Wednesdays. Seating is limited; you can RSVP here.
January 14 – February 4 (Tucson)
February 9 – February 26 (Phoenix)
La Esquinita, U.S.A.
Arizona Theatre Company
One of the Southwest’s premier Mexican-American playwright/performers, Rubén C. González presents this one-man tour-de-force about what happens when big business betrays a small border town. After the main employer, Thompson Tire Factory, heads to China, the forgotten town crumbles into chaos, and its residents struggle to survive. Told in a blend of prose and hip-hop-fueled poetry, La Esquinita, U.S.A. connects the stories of a dozen characters in a tale of love, forgiveness and redemption.
January 21 – May 27
Ciudad Juárez Projects
Arizona State University Art Museum
Belgian-born, Mexico City-based artist Francis Alÿs collaborated with artists in Ciudad Juárez to create two video works along with notes, maps, drawings and photographs. The exhibit tracks his experiences as he negotiates his place in relation to the conflict raging in downtown Juárez and its housing developments. Starting February 4, pair this free exhibit with The Violence of Truth, also at the ASU Art Museum (see below).
Crossfade LAB with Julieta Venegas and Rafa Esparza
Grammy award-winning Mexican musician Julieta Venegas and acclaimed Los Angeles artist Rafa Esparza will perform and discuss themes such as love, land, and the ways songs and art can help us make sense of history. Taking place at 7 p.m. in Phoenix’s Crescent Ballroom, the event is moderated by music critic and MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship recipient Josh Kun and is presented by Cala Alliance.
Performance Workshop with Rafa Esparza
Black Theater Troupe
L.A. artist Rafa Esparza – who creates works of installation, sculpture, painting and performance (see above) – leads a workshop for people of all levels and experience. He’ll explore concepts of performance and the ways our bodies are sites of knowledge, labor, presence and trust. The workshop, held at Black Theatre Troupe’s Phoenix performance space, is free but limited to 25 participants. You can register here.
February 4 – July 15
The Violence of Truth
Arizona State University Art Museum
ASU associate professor Jose Bernardi curates artwork that explores the myth of social change in architecture and desert culture. Bernardi will also present a series of his collages coinciding with artworks from the museum’s Cuban and Latin American collections. The exhibit is free.
March (date to be announced)
Flamenco Por La Vida presents “Lluvia Flamenca”
Arizona State University
Presented by ASU’s Performance in the Borderlands, “Lluvia Flamenca” features international artists reinventing classic flamenco dance.
April 11 – August 20
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
Phoenix is the only North American stop on a world tour of 33 works by Mexico’s most famous artistic couple. The exhibit will feature Kahlo’s Self Portrait with Monkeys and Diego on My Mind, Rivera’s Calla Lily Vendor and Sunflowers, plus photographs and clothing.
Opened in November 2016, this Spanish-English bookstore in downtown Phoenix is the dream of first generation Mexican-American Rosie Magaña. Motivated by the banning of books in Tucson’s Mexican-American studies program, as well as the lack of reading material for local Spanish speakers, Magaña created a safe community space for intercultural exchange. The bookstore, open Wednesdays through Saturdays, hosts events and workshops, plus showcases local art. Check its calendar for details.