Latin-American pathways

MONCA's Roots and Routes exhibit showcases the cultural journey of Nor-Cal artists

"Twilight" (detail), by Luis Garcia.

The land carries the scars and the stories of the many who make the journey looking for a better life. The fears, the loss, and the hopes are embedded in each step. The twilight’s soft glowing light, gradually declining in the sky, falls on them like a curtain of obscurity the sun sets below the horizon. An eruption of passion fills their hearts, but there are also feelings of uncertainty that cascade in their thoughts. They dream that things will be alright—Luis Garcia

Garcia is an Oakland-based artist, and the statement above is printed on the label of one of the three works he has hanging at the Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA) as part of its current Roots and Routes group exhibit. The accompanying piece is a 2024 acrylic-on-wood painting titles “Twilight,” and features a woman and a child in one corner fading into a darkly colorful landscape. Is it an image of home? Or the terrain along a journey? Whatever the case, the family is together as a pair of eyes in the clouds keeps watch over them, and the work seems to perfectly encapsulate the name of the exhibition.

“El Pato Bouquet,” by Ally

MONCA put out the call for Roots and Routes: Latin-American Perspectives with the aim to “celebrate contemporary expressions of Northern California artists from diverse backgrounds within the Latinx, Chicano, Mexican, and Latin American communities, understanding that these terms encompass a rich tapestry of cultures, traditions and perspectives.” The exhibit opened last month and will show through July 7.

“Zaniloa Huan Yeppa (Communicate With the Past),” stoneware piece by Freddy Santana.

It’s a fun, mostly 2-D show, featuring artists from the Bay Area, Sacramento area and Chico, with an impressively diverse range of styles—including monchrome screen and relief prints (Eugenio Rodriguez), vibrant and colorful paintings (especially lovely is “El Pato Bouquet” by Ally) and striking large-scale black-and-white acrylic-on-canvas faces (Luis Eduardo Guarnizo).

“Pandemia en el campo,” by Luis Eduardo Guarnizo

Next week, June 22, noon-7 p.m., MONCA is hosting a Latin-American Street Fair to accompany the exhibit. The road in front of the museum will be closed to traffic for an all-day party with live music, art, vendors, food and drinks—tacos, ice cream, no-host bar and more. (And the following day, the museum hosts a piñata-making workshop with Whole Lotta Piñatas!)

Routes and Routes: Latin-American Perspectives
Shows through July 7

Latin-American Street Fair, June 22, noon-7 p.m.
Piñata-making workshop, June 23, 1-3 p.m. (cost: $50/adults; $35/kids 12-plus)

900 Esplanade

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