As Latino culture and especially its artistry is becoming a more prevalent thing in Oklahoma and beyond—ya era hora!—Oklahoma Contemporary* is teaming with the Oklahoma Latino Cultural Center to not only pay tribute to the many artforms—classic and contemporary—that Latino culture has spawned, but also is providing a chance to get de cerca y personal with the tastemakers of today and tomorrow.
The Celebration of Latino Culture, premiering Oct. 20th with una gran fiesta that delves deep into the hearts and souls of a people, encompassing all artforms where Latinos have made brilliant contributions to, as well also celebrating the sacred holiday of Dia de los Muertos, a celebration of the lives of familia long passed.
Don’t think you’re not invited, though. It’s a long-awaited fete that Julie Delliquanti, the Director of Education and Public Programs at Oklahoma Contemporary, said has been specially “designed so that there is something for everyone.”
“The Latino community in Oklahoma City is diverse and vibrant,” Delliquanti said. “As a contemporary arts organization we are particularly interested in creative expression across all disciplines and value the connections and collaborations with our local community partners. We are thrilled to provide a platform for Latino voices and to share and celebrate the diversity of talent and artistic expression within the Latino community.”
One of those important Latino voices that should be heard, loudly, is Narciso Arguelles, an accomplished artist who has made a name for himself, both locally and nationally, with his own art that digs deep at his roots. For him, it was important as one of the curators of the Dia de los Muertos exhibition to not only celebrate his culture, but to also have the “opportunity to tell our story.”
“As an artist, I love to make art related to my heritage and culture,” Arguelles said. “We love to share it, from our art, music, theater, craft, and food…for my fellow Latinos, it is important to support organizations like the Oklahoma Latino Cultural Center in order to grow the organization. It is also important to support our partners Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center—they have been very generous to us; their whole organization has committed time and funds.”
The Celebration of Latino Culture begins this Saturday at the Fairgrounds, starting at 11 a.m. with mucho exhibitions, drop-in studios and music spun by DJ Maverick, showcasing the best in Latin sounds throughout the day. Other points of extreme interest during the all-day event include a performance by Lincka at 1:30 p.m., a chance to meet and greet featured artist Chris Ortiz at 2 p.m. and music from Academia Student Mariachi at 3:15 p.m.
Day of the Dead: A Real Life and Death Talk, presented by Robert Con Davis-Undiano and Catalina Beltrán, takes the stage at 4 p.m., as well as live performances from the Yumare Folkloric Dancers and Mariachi Orgullo de America. There will also be storytelling and food and drink while it lasts, so beat feet to get there early.
From Oct. 20 to Nov. 2, the gallery will also be housing three exhibitions: Day of the Dead / Día de Los Muertos, an exhibition curated from an open call to Latino artists in the region; Chris Ortiz: Portraits of Latinx Identity / Retratos de la identidad latina, a photography exhibition that shows the wide range of people who identify as “Latinx,” and an exhibition of prints by Self-Help Graphics, an LA-based community art center.
“The activities, performances and experiences are designed so that there is something for everyone,” Delliquanti added. “The event on October 20th is a family-friendly event that’s for all ages. Performances are kept to approximately fifteen minutes so that visitors can participate in a wide variety of experiences that includes music, dance, gallery talks, storytelling, food, hands-on art making and a short play, all celebrating Latino arts and culture.”
*Oklahoma Contemporary is a TLO advertiser, and we love them for it.