“Mexicanísimo” is a new exhibit by four Mexican-born, Memphis resident artists that sets the stage for the intersection of pre-colombian Aztec rhythm and the classical arts. Memphis is the home of opera singer Bethania Baray, Aztec dancer Agustín Díaz, ballet dancer Alberto Gaspar and visual artist Yancy Villa-Calvo.
“We come together to portray the beauty of our roots and what we bring to the Memphis community as Mexican immigrants," says Villa-Calvo who has lived in Memphis for 20 years. Gaspar, a company member of Ballet Memphis adds, “Our work is not restricted or limited to folklore. We like to be identified first and foremost as artists.” However, in this show they are focusing on their heritage, hence the title of the exhibition. "We are showcasing the contributions that Mexican artists bring to the Mid-South, which is seldom talked about,” says Baray.
The exhibit features artwork by Villa-Calvo, which includes canvases that have been painted by Gaspar's and Díaz’s feet while dancing classical ballet and moving to Aztec rhythms. Villa-Calvo then interjected painting strokes to capture the musical variations of Baray's opera singing, which helped bring all four art forms (opera, ballet, painting, and Aztec dance) together. In addition, an installation by Brazilian videomaker André Silveira will feature the creative inspiration provided by the interaction of the artists.
According to Díaz, this is a modern representation of the Ollin, an Aztec glyph that represents "the search of unity and balance - the movement of a universal understanding among the opposites." At a time when Mexican immigrants are perceived by some as "liabilities" and fitted often into stereotypes, the artists invite the Memphis community to be amazed and discover the unexpected.
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We thank our family, friends and community for their support.
Many thanks also to our media coverage:
La Prensa Latina
WKNO 91.1 FM Checking on the Arts segment
Radio Ambiente interview with Mayra Peregrina
La Raza News
98.5 FM New Mix Interview with Nancy Aguila