at latiNO arts, inc.
Exhibited March 5th - June 4th, 2020
This powerful exhibit, curated by LUNA co-founder Katie Avila Loughmiller, composed of artists and friends of LUNA (Latinas Unidas en las Artes), explores what it means to be Latinx in the United States. Each piece is a personal representation of identity and culture through the eyes of the artist, demonstrating that there is no one-size fits all description for the Latinx population. The exhibit faces the struggle and balance between finding camaraderie and community in the similarities between different Latinx cultures, and the fight against unique identities within the Latinx culture that are being erased.
Poster artwork by Whitney Salgado.
Hyphenated Americans explores what it means to be Latinx in the United States. For many, including the artists in this show, the experience is complex. We often are made to feel we must choose between the country we (or our family) came from and the country in which we currently reside. We want to celebrate our roots and our culture and not be made to feel as if we aren’t American simply because of that celebration.
As a Colombian adoptee, I have always felt as if I had to choose between being American or being Colombian while simultaneously feeling like I was an imposter when trying to be either. For many years, I felt I had to hide my Colombian identity while other times I felt like it was being purposely ignored. And while America is the only home I remember, I have had strangers ask me what I was and where I was from, because I couldn’t possibly be “one of them.” It has taken my whole life to wear my Colombian-American identity with pride and to refuse to choose a side. When I co-founded LUNA in 2017 with Gabriela Riveros, I realized these feelings and experiences were not exclusive to myself -- that what unites us as Latinx artists in America was not our cultures, but our experiences of having to navigate being seen in a country that has a long history of erasure. We are not all the same because being Latinx means we come from Mexico, Central America, South America or the Caribbean. Our different blood lines tie us back to every part of the world. We look different. We sound different. There is no one size fits all description of what it means to be Latinx. In this show, I hope people will see the variety of ways we uncover, explore and honor our blended identities. While we explored this theme as independent artists, we share this exhibition to hold space for one another. It is a space in which we are unapologetically ourselves. It is a space where we all belong.
This exhibition is a celebration of our hyphenated identities and an open embrace of all the layers and complexities that exist in our blood, bodies and homes. We invite you to celebrate with us.
Katie Avila Loughmiller | Artist and Curator