Inspired by the artistic zeal of the Pilsen area, one of Chicago’s most underappreciated art scenes, art is also a central focus at Pilsen Fest. Like the music, the Art Pavilion is always one of the main attractions, featuring the artwork of some of the Pilsen area’s most prominent local visual artist. In addition to over 40 local arts and crafts vendors, Pilsen Fest’s featured artists this year include:
It's a honor to introduce Carlos Barberena as the featured and awarded artist, who created the image that will accompany the arts and culture celebration: Pilsen Fest 2019. Carlos Barberena is a Nicaraguan self-taught Printmaker based in Chicago, where he runs the printmaking projects: Bandolero Press & La Calaca Press. He is also a member of the Instituto Gráfico de Chicago. Barberena is known for his satirical relief prints and the use of images from pop culture, as well as from political and cultural tragedies. In his art, he has consistently reflected on the cycles of repression and resistance and its relationship to the diaspora in which he has lived, throughout dictatorship, revolution, erasure, renewal, hope, dictatorship and repression. He makes art to shed light on these invisibilized experiences. Barberena has exhibited individually in Costa Rica, Estonia, France, México, Nicaragua, Spain and the United States of America, his work also has been shown in Art Biennials, Museums, Galleries and Cultural Centers around the world. He has received various awards, most notably the “National Printmaking Award 2012” given by the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture in Managua, Nicaragua; “Parchemin d’Honneur," 8 Triennale Mondial de l’Estampe et de la Gravure Originale, AMAC, Chamalieres, Auvergne, France and the award- poster for the Ecology and Human Rights in Banana Plantations in Costa Rica, given by GEBANA in Berlin, Germany.
Pintoras Mexicanas at Pilsen Fest
Pintoras Mexicanas is a collective created through Facebook in February 2011. At first it was created to disseminate artwork and the bios of female painters. Throughout the history of Mexican art, woman artwork has not been as available as it should be and I wanted to have a place where latina (mexicana) artists could be well represented. Currently, this virtual space serves to expose and share the work of Mexican women who excel in pictorial art. Composed of artists of great talent and ability, more painters have emerged and have joined the group. Currently Pinturas has more than 300 active members, residing mostly in Mexico, but also in other countries around the world. The Collective has organized exhibitions in Mexico, Italy and the United States. Pintoras Mexicanas has also shown solidarity with several institutions that work for social causes, donating work and organizing auctions to raise funds and thus help those who need it most. On this occasion we are making a fundraiser to benefit the Tarahumara community in the Sierra de Chihuahua.
I am a storyteller through photographs. As a storytelling, I understand the deep responsibility I have. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reminds us how, we have multiple stories of culture, lives, interactions, experiences, and places; therefore we risk misunderstanding if we tell one single story. Capturing elements of the human condition with empathy, humility, and great respect are always my goals and approach. I am also interested in the dialogue and relationship that is created between me the photographer, the audience and the subject of the photographs. I believe it is an organic dialogue that is fluid and constantly changing. I use my camera as my tool to tell the stories that are around me. Throughout the years I have told several stories. As the street photographer, the aesthetics of form and content, composition and lighting, public space and timing were my driving forces. A future story I wish tell is Cuba. I wish to travel there to gain an understanding of how even though Cubans have seen nothing but war and struggle they persist with dignity with a thriving arts community.
Born and raised in Chicago, my artistic inspirations originate from my personal hardships and experiences, as well as my Mexican up bringing here in the city. In 1995 I discovered that I truly enjoy working with my hands. I then found flexibility working with oil pastels however I continue experimenting with other mediums, As a self-taught artist my development has been a journey and a challenge, I depend on my soul, my heart and my hands. I feel that my best accomplishment as an artist is an installation piece I put together for my father Nemecio for Day of the Dead. This installation which is known as an Altar or Ofrenda, gave me the opportunity to share this experience with all cultures. I was able to explore, photography, poetry, and music. The experience was emotionally rewarding. As an artist I want my work to relate to people of all cultures, through my art I have the opportunity to share a little bit of myself with the world.
Karina Gómez Meléndez
Self-thought artist from Chihuahua, Mexico. Main painting subjects include day of the death imagery, swallows, hearts, and Mexican pop culture imagery. Artwork derives from childhood memories, family, traditions, and everyday life in Mexico and Chicago. Painting media mainly consists of acrylics on canvas with pasted rhinestones, watercolors and mixed media drawings. Body of work has a lot of strong primary colors and bold borders with simplified perspective and values.
Laura Gómez Meléndez
Self-thought artist from Chihuahua, Mexico, currently residing in Chicago, IL. Studied Business Administration and Marketing. Main painting subjects include abstract art, human figure, and Mexican art. Painting media consists of acrylics, charcoal and oil pastels on canvas. Body of work fluctuates from black and subdued colors for her modern art, to strong bold colors for her Mexican art.
Alma Dominguez was born in Chihuahua, México. Her exposure to art began at an early age with her father who is a guitarist. She went on to study music at the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua a BA in Music. While attending, she also explored visual arts. She is a psychologist with a Masters in Social Science. Director & Founder of the International Women Collective Pintoras Mexicanas. Co-founded OPEN Center for the Arts (Chicago, IL) Her journey throughout the areas mentioned above have had a mayor influence in her artwork it explores the boundaries of reality, with a flare of surrealism. Her paintings seek to raise political, social and environmental awareness.
THEATER & PERFORMANCE
Delia is a multi-media performance. It includes Butoh dance, performed by the Thai dance Wannapa P Eubanks; theatre, interpreted by Carolina Rodríguez and film, the short Delia el instante que precede produced by Colectivo El Pozo, Interactivo Productions and Carlo Serra Films. The story recounts the last seconds of life of an immigrant woman trapped in her apartment on a cold Chicago night. Wavering between denial and accept of her death, she recalls the three most impactful moments of her life as an immigrant. Dance, theatre and film blend to highlight her journey to Chicago, working and having faith.
Wannapa Pimtong-Eubanks is a Butoh Artist, movement coach, and actress. She is a native Thai. Her venues include Goodman Theatre, Raven Theatre, Chicago Cultural Center, The Athenaeum Theatre, Victory Garden Theatre, MCA, Links Hall, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Access Living, Out of Site, and many more... She was chosen to be showcased for Dance/USA showcase 2011 at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.Wannapa has been part of Laura Crotte’s theatre group to present the “Day of the Death” show for students in Chicago schools. She is also a company member of Erasing the Distance, a documentary theatre exploring mental health. Wannapa has conceived and produced Through My Daughter’s Eyes as part of the 2016 PopUp Series for Erasing the Distance by collaborating Theater, and Butoh in the work. Her recent work as a Movement Coach/Choreographer for Collectivo El Pozo theatre group. She has taught Butoh workshops such as Butoh workshop for actors at Collaboration Theatre Company, Erasing the Distance [Doc.Fest 2018], Halcyon Theatre, Butoh Body, Chicago Inclusive Dance Festival 2019 [Co-curated by Body Work, Access Living, and Momenta], and individuals artists/actors as part of movement coaching.
Carolina Escrich Hochman
Carolina Escrich Hochman found her passion for theatre 17 years ago when she started studying in many different acting schools in her home city Buenos Aires, Argentina. She graduated from Andamio 90 Acting school in 2004 and then moved to Chicago. After 8 years of living in this amazing city, she decided to pursue her dream of being on stage again and her dream has finally come true. Carolina has performed in the Colectivo El Pozo productions Allá en San Fernando, El edificio and in the short film Delia el instante que precede. She would like to thank her family for their support as she pursues her dreams.