Shaw Gallery at Weber State University co-hosts exhibition showcasing Latinx and Latin American Art for the 21st Century

Weber State University

This Fall, Ogden Contemporary Arts & The Shaw Gallery co-host an exhibition of twenty-four Latin American and Latinx contemporary artists whose work responds to relevant themes in relation to social and racial justice. The exhibited artists offer local, national and international perspectives through multiple disciplines including painting, sculpture, photography, installation, performance, digital art and more. Vida, Muerte, Justicia is a collaboration between Ogden Contemporary Arts, Weber State University’s Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery, curator Jorge Rojas and co-curator María del Mar González-González. The exhibition opens on October 1st at OCA Center and the WSU Shaw Gallery Project Space during Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll from 6-9 p.m. (5-9 p.m. at the Shaw Gallery Project Space Location).  Corresponding curatorial talks and programming will be held at WSU over the course of the exhibition. 

“Themes of life, death, and justice have been inextricably linked throughout history,” says Rojas, who is a Mexican artist, curator and educator based in Salt Lake City. “We’re looking at these concepts through the rich and complex lens of Latin American culture, which encompasses many countries, peoples and visual languages.”

Rojas and González-González, assistant professor of global modern and contemporary art history at WSU, intentionally selected artists in various stages of their careers whose work responds to a number of current issues and movements including immigration reform, racial justice, femicide, Black Lives Matter and much more. The exhibited artists identify nationally as Mexican, Colombian, ChileanPuerto Rican, and Dominican, among others. Important conversations surrounding ethnic and gender identity within this community are also addressed, as artists in the show also self-identify as Chicano, Nuyorican, or Latinx. This group includes multiple international and museum-level exhibiting artists such as Harry Gamboa Jr., Guillermo Galindo, Tania Candiani and others. Prominent Utah artists include Andrew Alba, Nancy Rivera, Horacio Rodriguez, and Roots Art Kollective, who will paint a mural inside The Monarch as part of the exhibition.

Latin American and Latino/Hispanic peoples make up the largest ethnic or racial minority in our country, as well as our local community, making this an especially significant exhibition for Utah and the art world at large. These artists have played a significant role in calling out social injustice on local, national and international levels, creating relevant work that inspires action and change.

“As we look back on one of the most difficult years in recent history due to COVID-19 and global political and social uprising, this exhibition invites audiences to reflect on many of the issues that have taken center stage, as well as the movements that have united us to work toward justice,” says Rojas and González-González. “…By exploring connections between life, death, and justice, these artists and this exhibition aim to raise awareness, educate, build community, and inspire action, while providing space for reflection, mourning, and collective healing.”

Vida, Muerte, Justicia extends from downtown Ogden to Weber State University, where Galindo and Candiani’s work will be exhibited at the WSU Shaw Gallery Project Space in the Kimball Visual Arts Building. Curatorial talks and performances will also be held at WSU with the visiting artists, providing opportunities for students and community members to engage on the important topics brought forth through this exhibition. This theme extends to partner events throughout the community; please see additional information below for a full schedule of events and programming related to the exhibition.

Stuart is the founder, writer and wrangler at several sites including Gastronomic SLC, Utah Now and, The Utah Review; Stuart is a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune and has worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.