"Artists illuminate Latino identity and life in the American West" PBS NewsHour 3/20/2017
SUMMARY: Thirteen young Mexican-American artists explore the ideas of "home" and "place" in the American West in an exhibit called "Mi Tierra" at the Denver Art Museum. Artists tackled topics of immigration, identity struggle and colliding worlds. Jeffrey Brown reports.
JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour): At the Denver Art Museum recently, an emotional moment for artist Ramiro Gomez and his parents.
WOMAN: I'm very proud of him.
JEFFREY BROWN: He'd brought them here to see his newest work, called 'Lupita,' an installation that pays homage to a janitor who worked at these galleries.
It was particularly poignant. Gomez's parents themselves are laborers, his mother a janitor, his father a truck driver.
RAMIRO GOMEZ, Artist: I wouldn't be here without their labor. I wouldn't be here without their sacrifice.
JEFFREY BROWN: Today, Gomez is an up-and-coming artist in Los Angeles featured in galleries and exhibitions for work that captures a life of work by immigrants and others, not typically the subject of art.
RAMIRO GOMEZ: It's important for me to highlight these people that are not going to be recorded in our history.
JEFFREY BROWN: In Denver, Gomez was one of 13 young Mexican-American artists chosen for an exhibition called 'Mi Tierra,' their assignment, to create a new work that explores the idea of home and place in the American West.
There were smaller paintings and large installations, videos about the land before Europeans settled here, and a garden that looked like a giant pinata.
Many of the artists tackled the politically charged topic of immigration. This piece contained an actual panel of the U.S.-Mexico border fence.
RAMIRO GOMEZ: For me, place becomes a very difficult word to focus on, just because place is never permanent. We're constantly moving. It's constantly shifting.
I'm an American-born child to Mexican immigrants. So, I'm at once Mexican and American. I'm in between. That in-between space, that in-between place that I occupy is something that is constantly changing within myself.