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Mexican Graphic Exhibition Salutes Essential Workers of Wood River Valley
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Christie Tirado, “America’s Essential Workers,” 2020, linocut print, courtesy of the artist.
 
 
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

The Sun Valley Museum of Art will throw a party for its new BIG IDEA project, “The Mexican Graphic Tradition: Printmaking and the Political,” on Friday, April 1.

The opening celebration will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Museum, 191 Fifth Street East. Participating artist Christie Tirsdo, a Yakima artist who created a commissioned series of prints for the exhibition, will discuss her work at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Tirado participated in a residency during the summer of 2021, during which she interviewed a variety of members of the Wood River Valley community who served as essential workers during the pandemic. She made linocut portraits of seven of those who served in schools, supermarkets and health care.

Artists in Mexico have used printmaking as a tool for disseminating news, sharing political views and celebrating Mexico’s national culture since the late 19th century. They used prints to document the events of the Mexican Revolution, promote leftist politics and warn Mexican citizens of the dangers of fascism during World War II. They also used them to honor the Day of the Dead and folk dances.

Inexpensive to make, reproduce and distribute, prints in Mexico have been a popular means for trying to shape public opinion.

“I’m particularly excited about sharing the work of Christie Tirado, whose commissioned portraits invite visitors to consider the people whose labor has helped keep this community going throughout the pandemic — people who haven’t always been recognized for their hard work,” said Courtney Gilbert,” SVMoA’s curator of Visual Arts. “Printmaking’s versatility makes it a perfect medium for honoring those who have been essential in our lives, and that’s reflected in Tirado’s prints as well as those made by local community members in a workshop Tirado led.”

The exhibition features prints from The Calle Collection, including works by José Guadalupe Posada and prints by many well-known artists affiliated with the Taller de Gráfica Popular in the mid-20th century. They include Alberto Beltrán, Ángel Bracho, Celia Calderón, Fernando Castro Pacheco, Jesús Escobedo, Arturo García Bustos, Leopoldo Méndez, José Chávez Morado, José Clemente Orozco, José Guadalupe Posada and Fanny Ravel.

In addition to Tirado, the exhibition also features the work of contemporary Northern California-based printmakers Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza, who cofounded the graphic arts collaboration “Dignidad Rehelde,” which means “Rebellious Dignity.” They use their printmaking as a form of activism and a tool for drawing attention to issues ranging from the rights of Indigenous peoples to housing, education, health care and the environment.

Artemio Rodriguez of Mexico uses images drawn from folklore, religious iconography in creating linocut prints that are sometimes satirical in their view of everything from socio-economic divides to the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Sergio Sanchez Santamaria, of Mexico City incorporates pre-Columbian imagery and contemporary references into his work, which sometimes offer satirical social commentary.

The exhibition will run through June 8. Walk-in visitors are welcome 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

The Museum is holding several programs in conjunction with the exhibition:

FREE EVENING EXHIBITION TOURS Thursday, April 7, 4:30 & 5:30 p.m.

FILM SCREENING: “Art Is … The Permanent Revolution” Thursday, April 7, 4:30 & 7 p.m.

CRAFT SERIES WORKSHOP: Proclamation Meets Paper with Marne Elmore Saturday, April 23, 1 p.m.

FREE FAMILY PROGRAM: Afternoon Art — Friday, April 29, 2:30 & 3:30 p.m.

FREE FILM SCREENING AND INTRODUCTORY TALK: “Searching for Posada: Art and Revolutions” Thursday, May 5, 5:30 p.m.

FREE FAMILY PROGRAM: Afternoon Art — Friday, May 6, 2:30 & 3:30 p.m.

TEEN WORKSHOP: Gel Print Explosion Books with Kristen Kent — Saturday, May 7, 9 a.m.

FREE EVENING EXHIBITION TOURS Thursday, May 12, 4:30 & 5:30 p.m.

FREE FAMILY PROGRAM: Afternoon Art — Friday, May 13, 2:30 & 3:30 p.m.

FREE EVENING EXHIBITION TOURSThursday, June 2, 4:30 & 5:30 p.m.

 

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