Sounds of Cultura (SOC): Nosotr@s Somos

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Entre Nosotr@s is holding an art exhibition “Nosotr@s Somos” showcasing Latina, Chicana, Indigenous and Latin-American artists. Vanessa Nielsen de Molina, an Entre Nosotr@s member, and artist Carolina Mesquita talk about the exhibition.

José Cárdenas: In tonight's sounds of Cultura SOC, Entre Nosotr@s is holding an art exhibition here in Phoenix. Nosotr@s Somos showcases Chicana, Latina, indigenous and Latin-American Arizona-based artists. Joining me is Vanessa Nielsen de Molina, member of Entre Nosotr@s. And Carolina Mesquita, a senior in high school and one of the artists in the exhibition. Welcome to our show. It's good to have you here. We're honored to have you here.

Thank you very much.

José Cárdenas: Let's talk about the organization and this particular event, and then we'll get to some of the specifics, some of the beautiful artwork that you're responsible for.

Vanessa Nielsen de Molina: It was started in 2012, a group of us that were affiliated with ASU, students and faculty, we realized they were all interested in the same sort of issues, transnational Latina, indigenous issues, social justice movements, culture, we wanted to extend those conversations outside the classroom and relate them to Arizona's sociopolitical climate. We've been bringing those conversations into the community. We've had a concert, film screenings, performance, and then this exhibition is our first foray into the visual arts, the exhibition on at the hive art gallery.

José Cárdenas: And Entre Nosotr@s means amongst us. And then you have as the title for the exhibition, Nosotr@s Somos, we are. What's the significance of that?

Vanessa Nielsen de Molina: Most of the pieces that we got, we issued a broad call to artists. The call was for artists to send in things that related to the themes that we're interested in, social justice. A lot of the things we ended up getting were faces, self-portraits and the way the artist felt being chicana, Latinas and living in Arizona. Because we ended up getting so many faces, we thought Nosotr@s Somos seemed an appropriate title for the kind of work we received.

José Cárdenas: Carolina, you're in high school.

Carolina Mesquita: Yes.

José Cárdenas: Your work is magnificent. We're going to see some pictures in a moment. Tell us a little bit about your background, because I understand that the pieces you've done are intended to reflect your heritage.

Carolina Mesquita: Yes. Well, I spent a lot of time growing up in Arizona. My family is originally from Brazil and I did spend a little bit of time growing up in Argentina. So I have come from kind of a somewhat muddled cultural and ethnic and linguistic background and growing up in Arizona, that sometimes was a little bit difficult because there was a need to constantly communicate that with my classmates and my friends. And so coming from that background, I like to communicate in my art the chaos that comes along with that experience. And some of the images are a little bit chaotic and they draw from, you know, many different sources of inspiration and there are many images within one larger image usually.

José Cárdenas: And we got the first one of the two that you have in the exhibition up on the screen. And we're going to show the other one. Explain to us how these reflect that what you referred to as your muddled background in these images.

Carolina Mesquita: Well, as you can see again, there are many sources of inspiration and like this one in particular, I used many different nontraditional --

José Cárdenas: This is mixed media.

Carolina Mesquita: Yes, Mixed media.

José Cárdenas: Tell us about the elements.

Carolina Mesquita: For example, one of my favorite parts is on the shoulder there, you can see that I used dried flowers. I flattened them between two books, and then I kept them there and glued them onto the page and I used acrylic and water color all within the same work and I used just I guess many different, you know, materials to create one image that I guess I think communicates kind of like not only the chaos I mentioned before but also, the melancholy that comes along with that experience and with the experience of being an adolescent, too. That is something that I think comes along very, obviously, in my work, too.

José Cárdenas: And what we see here Vanessa is a fantastic young artist bit you also have some very well-established artists in this exhibition and I understand from discussions you and I had off-camera, you were a little surprised at the wealth of responses that you got.

Vanessa Nielsen de Molina: Yeah, we were and we wanted it to be that way. We wanted it to be very inclusive and anybody who considered herself an artist was welcome to join the show. We have a piece from one of the daughters of one of the members of our collective who I don't know how old she is but she's maybe nine. So we definitely have a broad range of work included, and that was purposeful.

José Cárdenas: We've got some images we're going to put up on the screen very quickly that just kind of show the theme that you were talking about, the images, the faces, the self-portraits in many ways, we'll run them as we're wrapping up the interview. Tell us again when the exhibition is and some of the events associated with it.

Vanessa Nielsen de Molina: The exhibition runs through April 18th, we have an event this Friday, a meet the artist event, Carolina will be there from 6:00 to 9:00 at the hive. We also have a printmaking workshop Saturday March 28th from 1:00 to 3:00 with artists and our last one will be a panel discussion, some members of the collective, and visual artists and that is April 10th from 7:00 to 9:00 also at the hive.

José Cárdenas: So as we can see from these images and the work that we saw already, this is a magnificent exhibition and we thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte" to talk about it. And congratulations.

Carolina Mesquita: Thank you.

José Cárdenas: Thank you so much. And that's our show for tonight. From all of us here at eight and "Horizonte," thank you for watching. I'm Jose Cardenas. Have a good evening.
Video: Funding for "Horizonte" is made possible by contributions by the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station.

Vanessa Nielsen de Molina:Member, Entre Nosotr@s; Carolina Mesquita:Artist;

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