Almost a hundred pieces of culturally-inspired artwork representing Latin America fills cSPACE King Edward in Calgary.

The exhibit was organized by Casa Mexico, a non-profit that supports programs and events promoting Latin American culture in Alberta. After putting out the call for submissions, they received responses from 42 artists representing 13 countries, including Columbia, Nicaragua, Chile and Brazil.

The exhibition is free and runs until July 14.

Miguel Cortines, president of the organization, says one of the goals behind the event is to “showcase the talent that exists in the community” and is based on a concept he calls tu espacio.

cSPACE webVisitors attend the Latin American Art Exhibition opening on July 5 at cSPACE King Edward. The exhibit featured Latin American-inspired drawings, paintings, sculptures and photography. Photo by Andrea Wong

“Tu espacio means that we share values not just as a Casa Mexico but also with the different communities that work together in promoting the same values. So being here in cSPACE inspires us to collaborate, to be creative and to network,” Cortines says.

For artist Claudia Janet being in the art community has allowed her to find a sense of belonging where she enjoys meeting a diversity of Latin American artists. While she lived in Mexico, she would often see the same style being replicated, but she is happy to see the exhibit featuring a mix of art that isn’t only traditional.

“I’ve always been different,” Janet says. “Here, all of them are different. I love that. So everybody else can see that Latin America can create different kinds of styles.”Claudia webClaudia Janet is a self-taught artist from Monterrey, Mexico. Her paintings have been featured in exhibits in Italy, Mexico and England. Photo by Andrea Wong.

Consul of Mexico Paloma Villaseñor Vargas attended as an honoured guest and was pleased to see everyone’s collective effort in exhibiting Latin America’s art and culture, something she hopes to see more of in Canada.

“Latin America is a source of inspiration and joy here in Canada,” she says. “The art can unite people. It can unite countries. This exhibition of Latin American artists can put together Latin America with Canada.”

Cuban-born artist Juan-Carlos Urria says culture and art are inseparable. Living in Calgary for 10 years, he sees representation as a shared responsibility among artists.

Juan Carlos web copyJuan-Carlos Urea’s painting “Quantum Horse” is based on the theory that particles are everywhere at the same time. “Perhaps we are in different places at the same time and don’t know it. The horse represents self over and over and over in different moods of itself,” he says.  Photo by Andrea Wong.

“Culture is everything. It’s something you don’t lose ever, doesn’t matter where you are,” Urria says. “Your art is always going to be part of your culture as well, and it is our job as artists to always represent our origins, bringing with us all of the knowledge that we know from our countries and try to create an art piece that represents those things.”

For Almenda V. Vergara, sharing life through art can also create empathy. Three months ago she moved from Mexico to Calgary looking for change in her life. For the exhibit she chose to create an art piece that would reflect her experience in a new culture and also pay homage to her roots. Describe what it looks like, what medium she uses.

Almendra web copyAlmendra V. Vergara’s sculpture “In Your Shoes” represents the steps of immigrants from one place to another. It contains puzzle pieces and images of her friends and family from Mexico. Photo by Andrea Wong.

“My art is about friendship and immigration, how I feel about the situation in Calgary, and also it’s about how we make some relationships here.

“I love Mexico. The people are very strong. We have friendship, we have family, we have our culture, our roots, and it’s very important to be proud of that situation in every part of the world.”

Next year Cortines says they are looking to have even more art submissions and to expand the exhibit to Edmonton. He also hopes that the connections made between the artists will continue.

Artists webFeatured Latin American artists attend the exhibit July 5 to network and talk with visitors about their work. Photo by Andrea Wong.

Where: cSPACE King Edward, 1721 29 Ave SW

When: 8 am to 8 pm (a closing fiesta will be held from 4 pm 10 pm on July 14)

Cost: Free

For more information visit the event website.

Editor: Ian Tennant |

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