The Emmanuel Art Gallery at the University of Colorado Denver announced the opening of Belleza Mexicana (Mexican Beauty). The paintings, photographs, and textiles, on loan from Denver’s Abarca Family Collection, are the most extensive and significant in the Rocky Mountain Region. The show is open and there will be a public closing reception on March 1.
The show, the first of its kind at CU Denver, expresses feminine beauty in Mexican culture, contextualized by the Chicanas and Mexicanas who have historically lived, worked, and studied in the Auraria neighborhood and on campus. The chosen works of girls and women focus on spiritual, familial, and religious expressions. A recurring theme is reverence, womanhood and feminine ideals.
“We are thrilled to show this important artwork at the Emmanuel Art Gallery. The Abarca Family Collection is one of the most important Mexican and Mexican-American art collections in the Mountain West. Even though much of the art is from the past century, it is timely in our current political and social climate,” said gallery Director and Curator Jeff Lambson. “Addressing issues of the power of the feminine in Mexican art and culture, the show asks questions about identity, gender, culture, and authority. Having this exhibition on the Auraria campus is particularly meaningful as this was historically a Latino neighborhood filled with families and the work of women.”
Adrianna Abarca, founder of the Latino Cultural Arts Center (LCAC), and co-curator of the exhibition, collaborated with students at the College of Arts & Media working at the Emmanuel Art Gallery.
“It is very gratifying to share some of the art that my father, Luis Abarca, founder of Ready Foods, and I have collected. It is significant to have it exhibited at Auraria where our family has cultural roots,” Abarca said.
This exhibition is generously supported by the CU Denver College of Arts & Media and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. It is also supported by contributions from the Denver Art Museum and the Abarca Family Collection.
The Latino Cultural Arts Center (LCAC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen the knowledge of and appreciation for the extensive artistic expressions of Latinos by preserving and highlighting the history, culture, and ongoing contributions.
The Emmanuel Art Gallery’s mission is to enhance understanding and experience of the visual arts through the presentation of significant art exhibitions, lectures and events. CU Denver recently took over management of the Emmanuel Art Gallery and is committed to exhibiting and making accessible the important art of our time.
CU Denver College of Arts and Media is the first college in Colorado devoted exclusively to arts and entertainment. The College of Arts & Media understands the influence of modern trends on traditional art forms, with a skilled faculty that is comprised of artistic masters and educators in creativity who are connected to the pulse of art, entertainment, and the creative industries.