From: Denver Art Museum Limited Edition: 5 Exhibition: Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place Material: Printed 2-ply vinyl Dimensions: 30" x 89" (76cm x 226cm) Hanging Hardware Included
Remember the Utah teen who posted her prom pics on Twitter and got way more feedback than she expected? She wore a traditional Chinese cheongsam to her prom. In response to the backlash, she said she thought the dress was beautiful and was showing appreciation for Chinese culture by wearing it. But others panned it off as cultural appropriation. Living in Las Vegas, Justin Favela knows a little about this conversation. He recommends returning those blow-up maracas to the party store the next time you think “Cinco de Drinko” party. Check out the massive piñata paper mural and garden installation he created for the Denver Art Museum’s Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place. He used thousands of pieces of piñata paper to get us thinking about the ways our culture perpetuates Mexican stereotypes. A colorful portion of his mural covers one of the banners used to promote the exhibition.
The Denver Art Museum selected 13 emerging Mexican-American conceptual artists to create installations for the exhibition, Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place. The artists each had some tie to Mexico and the American West, either as a first generation American, living part-time in both countries, or as an immigrant from one country to the other. They were charged with creating a site-specific installation on the fourth floor of the Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton Building that addressed the ideas of home and place. The results were diverse narratives about migration, displacement, labor, nostalgia, visibility, and the complex layers of culture in the American western states. They told their stories in very different ways: performance-based video, fiber constructions, mixed media, digital animation, painting, sculpture, and ceramics.
One of the banners used to promote Mi Tierra featured detail of Boundary, a photograph taken by Daniela Edburg and hung on a wall as part of her installation, Uprooted. The photo was taken while the artist, who lives in Mexico, was visiting the Pawnee National Grassland near Greeley, Colorado. She spent time in the state prior to the exhibition to allow the place to inspire original work. She described the photo “as a reflection of our broken relationship with nature and our understanding of it through the artificial.” In the full photo, the subjects are sitting on a patch of grass crocheted by Edburg and brought with her from Mexico.
This banner shows two females sitting closely looking off into the prairie with a partly cloudy sky above, a detailed portion of Boundary. “MI TIERRA/CONTEMPORARY ARTIST EXPLORE PLACE” and “DENVER ART MUSEUM” appear at the bottom in white, reversed out of an orange screen over the grass. This banner is identical on both sides.