Latin American Art LAtin American Art Festival | Balboa Park


Latin American Art is considered to be a mixture from South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. I know it seems thats the roots of this particular type of art is widespread but I think that is the beauty in it. So many different sub categories that all build one strong and united culture. Within Latino culture there a high respect for religion which is considered to be very reflective in Latino Artist work. Researchers have narrowed this era of work to the Pre-Columbian Art era along with being said to have a “mestizo” type of style. In the early stages of Latin American culture and art Christianity was the major influencer along with bits of Portuguese and Italian influence.

As time progresses on we move onto the what would be considered Modernism. This was the transition when Latino culture was advancing into a more industrial way of life. Cities became larger and grander as this was shown in the art work. Although fairly recent, 1922 in San Paulo, Brazil Modern Art Week was a huge milestone in the Modernism movement. Years later in the 1920's and 30's Muralism became the front runner of Latino American art. A widespread phenomenon that painted the city, artists such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros had painted murals in over 100 cities.

Lastly moving to Surrealism which can be explained by the picture below, the Art became more and more complex with a vibrancy that was unmatched by any other movement at the time. Post World War I we were seeing maybe a different side of artists and what the war had done to countries that were involved in the war both in South American and in Europe. Frida Kahlo, one of the most respected women and artist, was the leader of this era. Her work is still respected all over the world today and not to mention taught to many young artists in the classroom.

“It’s giving a new, expanded experience for the spectator and trying to get him inside the world of the painting,” Esparza explained. “It’s kind of the journey for the art. Everything is going to come alive, I think. It gives another dimension.”

-Yunuen Esparza

Ms. Esparza who is 65 and from Baja, Mexico was one the 62 artist that were chosen to present at the festival. She was very honored to be a part of this and you could really tell in her words. Everyone in the festival was very respectful of one another and the work they presented. In Latino culture family is arguably the most important factor in the way of life. I could really tell by the way everyone spoke and interacted with each other they were very proud to be of Latino decent. Along with the amazing artwork their was Latino music that was blasting all through out the day and was even accompanied by an authentic chef from Baja. Latino dance was also being displayed which another very important part of their culture.

Aida Valencia who was the curator of the event explained that this is more than art show. “Through the arts we have a meaningful life,” she said. “It brings together color, soul, culture, and California is influenced by the Spaniards. The Latin American community is our neighbor, and we have to start getting better connected.” This really hit home because the Latino community is so heavily rooted in San Diego being so close to Mexico. In America we are so separated by race or economic status that often times we aren't even proud to be American. This was something that really caught eye being in this environment was the sense of pride, in the art, the dance, and the culture in general. With the tension so high between the United States and Mexico Ms. Valencia believes that with art and expression we can restore the positivity in the two communities.

I was fortunate enough to interview a volunteer names Josh Reyes who has been a part of the community for a number of years. He explained that "when your in an environment like this it is impossible to not have fun." Ive been in the Latino community for a while and have experienced some hard times, money is tight but our spirits are high. It seems so cliche to be asking people what they think about the Trump wall however they're people who are directly affected by it. This really brought me down to earth when I was able to speak to someone about this.

PACO REYES | Artist 2017
Peruvian Dancers | Festival 2017
Keith Haring (American Artist)

Being born and raised in America along with never leaving the country before I have never had much access to other cultures first hand. This frustrates but which is also why I am so accepting with other cultures. In our society today we are so defined by the barriers that we create today we forget that we are all one. I am an art major so not only do I appreciate art in general but ethnic art more than any. The history behind it trumps anything that we have here in America and I think that directly reflects in the artwork itself. Our art now a days is so minimal even with no meaning, this is partly due to digital era that we live in but I think you get the gist.

Cultural groups may vary in the degree of emphasis placed on silence, which can be as meaningful as language (Acheson, 2007). Silence can be easy when it comes to respect, many will watch and stand by as we demote other people and what they believe in. This goes the other way, maybe your not a disrespectful person however you stand for nothing. There is nothing wrong with being proud of something or creating your own idea. I learned this by being around the Latino culture, everyone was proud and stood for it. This made me really reflect on the American way and how we are so caught up in our opinion and what people think of us to be proud. The photo below is what to be considered popular and modern in American standards. No depth or origin. This is why I was so astounded by the Latino culture and the vibrancy of their work.


"Latin American art." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.

Martin, Judith N., and Thomas K. Nakayama. Intercultural Communication in Contexts. Boston:McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print.

Reyes, Josh. "Art Festival ." Personal interview. 1 Apr. 2017.

"The Development of Modern Art In the US." The Development of Modern Art In the US. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.

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