Delaware Art Museum highlights Latino culture in temporary exhibit

The Delaware Art Museum is exhibiting “Estampas de la Raza” to highlight the Latino community's cultures, traditions, identities, struggles, and memories.

Julieta Zavala poses with one of her designs currently on display at the Delaware Art Museum.

Julieta Zavala showing her fashion creation "La Mera Mera" at the Delaware Art Museum. (Johnny Perez-Gonzalez/WHYY)

“Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection,” an exhibit at the Delaware Art Museum, will be on display through May 28. It showcases the many cultures, traditions, and identities within the Mexican American and Latino community, while also attempting to find a way to integrate memories and struggles of individuals.

Iz Balleto, the community engagement specialist at the Delaware Art Museum, said the  exhibit highlights the impact and legacy Latinos have had and continue to have on the U.S.

“This one is really highlighting the Chicano, the Mexican American, our indigenous Latino people that live around this community. We want them to know that they know that their voices and their presence matters,” he said.

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The 61 eye-catching art pieces all exhibit distinct historical and cultural experiences of the Chicano movement and other social justice movements between 1980 and 2010.

“It’s about social justice, at the same time highlighting the issues that really do affect many Chicanos across from the West to the East Coast to the south, seeking for justice and for so many people whose voices have not been heard,” Balleto said.

(Delaware Art Museum Facebook photo)

Balleto said many injustices remain, particularly “when it comes to medical, when it comes to being underpaid, when it comes to not being counted for,” he explained. That’s why he says “it’s important we tell the story of the importance of people.”

‘We are opening doors to our culture’

“Fashion has always been a part of us, too,” Balleto explained, when discussing a fashion show inspired by the exhibit , called “Tradition, Culture, Memory Fashion Show.”

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Two artists, Cesar Viveros and Julieta Zavala, have been invited  to create pieces inspired by their culture, heritage, and community for the show on May 13.

Viveros, a Philadelphia artist, creates murals and screen printings that represent the Latino community. He’s been tasked with transforming DAM’s Orientation Hall with a mural of a bodega, something many Latinos grew up with in their neighborhoods. Zavala, a Newark-based fashion designer, will bring Estampas de la Raza to life through a fashion collection.

Para Zavala, con su pasión por el diseño de moda, esto es importante. “Es muy importante porque estamos abriendo puertas a nuestra cultura y esperamos tener más oportunidades como ésta”, dijo. 

For Zavala, with her passion for fashion design, this is important. “It is very important because we are opening doors to our culture and we hope to have more opportunities like this one,” she said.

The 11 designs exhibited at the fashion show will speak about both Latino culture and history, as well as social issues in the Latino community today.

“Necesitamos mostrar no solo parte de nuestra cultura, pero también de los problemas sociales en los que estamos enfrentando la cultura latina” ella añadió. “Voy a mostrar mi punto de vista en cuanto a mi tradición y cultura, que es en lo que más me he inspirado en este tiempo que llevo como diseñadora. Pero también voy a mostrar un punto de vista que es algo político y de problemas sociales que acontecen hoy en día”.

“We need to show not only part of our culture, but also the social problems that the Latino culture is facing,” she said. “I am going to show my point of view regarding my tradition and culture, which is what I have been most inspired by in this time that I have been a designer. But I am also going to show a point of view that is political and social problems that occur today.”

The fashion show will take place on Saturday, May 13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Delaware Art Museum. The public is invited to attend.

The full exhibit of “Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection” will be on display at the Delaware Art Museum until May 28.

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