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Smoking Mirrors: Murals of Resistance and Resilience Art

Curators: Chicano/a Murals of Colorado Project

October 15, 2021 – February 26, 2022

Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca have been invoked in narrations of histories of migration, cultural contact, assimilation, destruction, resistance, resilience, and transformation. In Nahuatl's oral and written tradition, the meetings throughout history between the keeper of darkness, Tezcatlipoca (the Smoking Mirror), and the keeper of creativity, Quetzalcoatl (the Feathered Serpent), generate waves of destruction and creation. Their meeting emphasizes the dualism of light and dark that is foundational to the building of new worlds. Smoking Mirrors: Paths of Resistance and Resilience honors the resiliency of this teaching and re-imagines the meeting of this duo to help guide us through history on a path forward. As night falls, Tezcatlipoca presents his brother Quetzalcoatl with a hazy obsidian disc or a smoking mirror reflecting La Gente (the people) and refracting a beacon of light (resistance and resilience).

Throughout these two galleries, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca come together in these histories of the creation and recreation of racialized identities throughout Mexico and the United States. This exhibition honors muralism’s foundations in the United States, which began as a means to document ignored and excluded community histories and to build new worlds. Smoking Mirrors seeks to continue muralism’s tradition of creating spaces for reflections, conversations, and transformations through archetypal and invisible histories of people and events. Twenty-four artists from Colorado and New Mexico narrativize histories from the moment of contact between Europe, Africa, Asia, and Indigenous America to current abolitionist and decolonization movements. On view work across various mediums that highlight resistance to racial capitalist colonization, spiritual conversion, and the destruction of Indigenous life. We believe providing space for these difficult conversations is vitally important in the interest of healing and building new worlds.

This visual arts exhibit curated by the Chicano/a Murals of Colorado Project will honor the Colorado Chicano/a tradition of using public art and murals in service to the people and communities that are historically dehumanized and oppressed in US society.

Featured artists

Alicia Cardenas, Nani Chacón, Gregg Deal, Cal Durán, Emory Douglas, Víctor Escobedo, Carlotta Espinoza, Rita Flores de Wallace, Juan Fuentes, John Paul Granillo, David Ocelotl García, Anthony García, Patsy García, Jodie Herrera, Chelsea Lewinski, Sabinita López Ortiz, Yolanda M. López, Emanuel Martinez, Anthony Maes, Sylvia Montero, Jaime Molina, Adri Norris, Tony Ortega, Virgil Ortiz, Edica Pacha, Ratha Sok, George (8X) Stewart, Leticia Tanguma, Leo Tanguma, Jerry Vigil, Carlos Sandoval.


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