The Capital City Arts Initiative presents its exhibition “Saludos Amigos” by artist Justin Favela at the CCAI Courthouse Gallery.
Favela will install his work with community assistance through Friday. CCAI will host an opening reception 5 to 7 p.m. Friday and Favela will give a brief talk about his work at 5:30 p.m. The exhibition will be in the gallery from Friday through Jan. 29.
The courthouse is located at 885 E. Musser St. The reception and the exhibition are free and the public is cordially invited. The gallery is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In this installation, Favela will collage imagery from famous animated films that depict Latin American culture. Using his signature “piñata style,” Favela will make large scale murals with tissue paper and glue that will break down images from films like “The Three Caballeros,” “The Emperor’s New Groove” and “Coco.” These films celebrate Latin American culture but through the investigation of the imagery, Favela will highlight the exoticism and Hollywood fantasy that falsely represents an entire culture.
Favela makes work in a piñata style exploring his identity as a Latino from Las Vegas with Mexican and Guatemalan parents. He makes his work with traditional craft materials such as tissue paper and cardboard, making anything from sculptures to large scale paper installations. Much of his work is labor intensive and benefits from assistance and creative input from community members who help build and conceptualize his projects.
Previously, Favela worked with school groups to seniors to develop some of his larger scale installations. To assist Favela with this project’s construction, CCAI will coordinate with Western Nevada College’s Latino Cohort for its students to serve as interns and work with Favela to create the work and learn his decision-making processes.
“Sometimes, when I do an install, I will get community input,” Favela said. “For example, when I made the last lowrider at Museo de Las Americas in Denver, I had the teens help me pick out the colors and the imagery for the car.”
Favela, a Las Vegas native, works in painting, sculpture and performance. His work draws on art history, popular culture and his Guatemalan/Mexican heritage. He has earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in Studio Arts from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2010 and has participated in exhibitions across the United States and the United Kingdom. Las Vegas venues include the Contemporary Arts Center, Trifecta Gallery and the Clark County Government Center. Recent exhibitions include “Unsettled,” Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, “Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place,” site-specific installations by 13 Latino artists who express experiences of contemporary life in the American West, Denver Art Museum; and the group exhibition “Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness” touring the United Kingdom through 2018; and “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now,” Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Ark.
He also will talk about his work at the reception; this talk will introduce the artist and invite the guests to interact with him.
Favela will give a public talk during the residency while the pieces are under construction so the public can also participate in the process.
In addition, the artist will give talks about his art practice to high school art students and faculty during fall semester.
Essay writer Emmanuel Ortega is a curator, podcaster and visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ortega has lectured nationally and internationally on images of autos-de-fé and 19th century Mexican landscapes. He contributed the chapter “Hagiographical Misery and the Liminal Witness: Novohispanic Franciscan Martyr Portraits and the Politics of Imperial Expansion” to the edited volume Visualizing Sensuous Suffering and Affective Pain in Early Modern Europe and the Spanish Americas (Brill, 2018).
Also, an essay titled “Spanish Colonial Art History and the Work of Empire” was published this summer by the University of California, Los Angeles’ Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture journal.
This exhibition is supported by a Challenge America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The artist and CCAI thank the NEA for its generous support of this project.
For information, visit www.ccainv.org.