Creating As A Latinx Artist: A Two Day Event On Identity, Erasure and Art

Jan 24, 2019

The Perez Art Museum Miami and ArtCenter/South Florida are hosting two days of panels and studio tours that center around what it means to create as a Latinx artist.

The Latinx Art Sessions will also explore identity and representation in the art world. 

WLRN’s Nadege Green spoke with Naiomy Guerrero, one of the event's organizers and a curatorial fellow at PAMM.

WLRN: Latinx is a fairly new term and one that has invoked strong arguments for and against it. What does Latinx mean to you?

GUERRERO: Latinx is a gender neutral and it’s used to subvert the gendered way that Spanish works. Everything is either masculine or feminine.

We have to make room for gender non-conforming folks, trans folks, people that just don't see themselves within that gender binary.

So Latinx art for me means artists from Latin America and the Caribbean, of Latin American and Caribbean descent born or long living in the U.S., where their work responds to a U.S. lived experience.

And when you talk about disrupting the by binary,  we're not just talking about gender. We're talking about this way of looking at things that doesn't always look at the nuances or look deeper beyond the surface level?

Correct. So moving away from this either or thinking, and thinking more in terms of plurality thinking of—we are many things at the same time.

And that relates to gender identity, that relates to racial identity, that relates to how you identify culturally, what histories you're informed by, all of these things.

What will be happening at the Latinx art sessions?

It's a series of three panels. The first panel is a panel discussing Felix Gonzalez Torres in a queer Latinx lens. People sort of marvel at how beautiful his sculptures are. He made work about being a queer gay man and the HIV/AIDS crisis and his work was very kind of socio-politically-charged and was very provocative.

I will be moderating the "Disrupting Binaries in Latinidad" panel and that panel is with Janel Martinez who is Garifuna. She's from New York, Bronx. She works in media and she started this platform called “Ain't I Latina,” where she highlights indigenous and black Latina women. And she critiques a lot openly the invisibility of black and brown Latina folks in media.

Baptized In A River Of Fire, by Morel Doucet.
Credit David Gary Lloyd

And then we have Morel Doucet, who is from Miami and he is Haitian-American.  I felt it was really important to center the beginning of that conversation with why I choose to include Haitian-American folks in the Latinx art framework.

And that is because of Haiti's contribution to the stopping of slavery throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Haiti basically was like, “I'll support you if every person that was brought from the continent of Africa is given their freedom.” And several of the flags in Latin America kind of pay homage to Haiti, so I really feel that Haiti is very central to black and brown folks in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Who is the Latinx art session for?

A lot of the folks that are coming down outside of Miami are art professionals, curators, historians, people in the art world, but really the reason that it's free and open to the public and not like in some conference style is because we want Miami people in there.

It’s Miami. We have so many different folks from different places and we need to be able to have these honest uncomfortable conversations about how Latinidad is not a monolith and it changes depending on what skin you live in whether you're black, whether you're brown, whether you're a light-skinned or white Latino. All of those things are really important to kind of nuance and tease out—whether you come from money whether you don't. And these artists that we’ve invited to speak and are coming down they speak to that. They speak to all of those different kinds of situations and conditions.

If You Go:

Latinx Art Sessions
Free with RSVP
Visit https://latinxsessions.org