LAS VEGAS, NM – The National Hispanic Cultural Center’s art museum curator will present a lecture at Highlands University discussing two of the center’s recent exhibitions that focused on racial, cultural and gender identity.
Jadira Gurulé curated the exhibitions “Qué Chola,” which was on display last spring and summer at the NHCC, and the 2018 exhibit “Because It’s Time: Unraveling Race and Place in New Mexico.”
“These exhibits were related because of their focus on race, ethnicity and gender,” Gurulé said. The more recent exhibit, “Qué Chola,” examined the Latina figure and ways she personified resilience, strength and power. “Race and Place” explored the complexities of identity in New Mexico through the works of 26 artists.
“In the process of creating the shows, we had to consider the range of perspectives and experiences of people who walk into a public art museum,” Gurulé said. “The “Qué Chola” exhibit would be speaking to people who had experience with the subject matter as well as people who have a negative experience with the subject matter and people who had no experience at all. For me, it was exciting to explore what would be a common ground.”
“During the exhibit, I came across people who identified with the Chola at some point in their lives,” Gurulé continued. “There was a lot of historical grounding on why it was important from a feminist perspective.”
Gurulé said she’s attracted to art because it’s an avenue that identity and intersectionality can be explored, a philosophy that led to the “Because it’s Time” exhibit.
“We wanted to create a safe space for artists to create and for visitors to react to those ideas,” Gurulé said. “There’s a huge range of comfort levels talking about it, getting to the hard truth of those issues and how we react to the artwork. In the exhibit, she invited 13 artists with ties to New Mexico to create new works exploring the exhibition’s theme. Each artist then invited an artist to participate.
Gurulé said the discussion surrounding race, identity and culture is a personal interest, and it’s also deeply rooted in what the National Hispanic Cultural Center does.
“For personal and professional reasons, I enjoy the engagement with social justice topics and how they impact our daily lives,” she said. “As human beings, we seek a sense of belonging, and we cultivate a style that speaks to who we are and how we like to be identified.”
Gurulé’s lecture, “Social Justice, Art, and Museums,” will be Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. in Highlands’ Kennedy Alumni Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.