Story by: Yol-Itzma Aguirre
BIG things are really happening in Texas! In a political time when Latinos are constantly under attack, it seriously moves my heart to see the movement happening in Dallas.
Timing is everything. Last summer, Dallas Museum of Art announced the welcome of their new director, Dr. Agustín Arteaga, and with him comes a new era of culture to the Big D. What makes this just all the more special (for many Latinos) is that this comes on the heels of a very brutal presidential election, one that targeted Latinos… specifically Mexicans, Mexican-Americans. You can now understand the immense pride that many of us are feeling with the arrival of the brilliant director from Mexico City, bringing all the beauty and sophistication of “México Lindo” to the masses.
Already setting records, the newest exhibit, México 1900–1950, is quickly drawing in regular patrons and first-time guest. This exclusive collection of Mexican modern art, features over 200 works and is only making one stop in the United States…Dallas,TX.
For anyone that was already a patron of the arts, I am sure that this is a splendid surprise and they are ready to set eyes upon the works of iconic artist such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and José Clemente Orozco. However, what is really exciting to me, is to see all the people (that have usually been excluded from the arts) the other side of Dallas, now coming out in droves. I have seen the photos on social media and it has been emotional for some, exciting for others, but there is definitely a reaction vibrating from different voices across the metroplex.
For many, this has opened up the opportunity to finally have a reason to attend the museum. Latino heritage is often ‘whitewashed’ in our Texas textbooks and therefore the cultural pride is sometimes lost, especially in a city that still has clear socio-economic divisions, such as Dallas. (I can say this because I was the only Latina living in my building in “Uptown” for about 3 years.) You would be surprised how many Latinos might not know much about their own heritage, this is due to assimilation and lack of narratives in our books and media. The problem with that, is that we are Latino and so it doesn’t make us more “American” to erase our cultural pride, it simply makes us half of who we are. We can only be the best version of ourselves when we are whole and complete. This is what this exhibit means to me. We finally can see our own reflection within the halls, hanging along side other great works, because we are just as valuable, just as significant. Families now have a window to be able to show their children, grand children the beauty of their heritage. Likewise for many of us born here in the states, it really is a moment of ‘unidad, conexión‘ connecting to our roots, our parents, abuelos…and for many Latinas, it was an extra special moment having Frida there front and center, connecting with an icon of female empowerment.
if you are in the area you should stop by, the exhibit will be on display from March 12, 2017 to July 16, 2017. We will definitely be following up on our next trip out to Dallas, so we can meet Dr. Arteaga, the man who is making all this possible, and to finally pay our respects to Frida, in person!
[cover photo contributed by Yol-Itzma Aguirre]