One of the ways Pilsen Fest promotes cultural literacy is through a live poetry exhibition called The Spoken Word. Each night right before the headliner’s set, local accomplished writers take to the main stage to read and perform their profound works.
Raúl Dorantes Is Resident Playwright of Colectivo El Pozo. He is credited with nine original works presented by Colectivo El Pozo since 2009, Camazotz, to open this Fall, being his 10th original work. Born in México, he immigrated to Chicago in 1986. Since 1990 he has served on the editorial board of various Spanish language literary magazines. In 2008, Dorantes began writing for Teatro Aguijón, where he devised Hasta los gorriones dejan su nido (2008), y El lunes de León Rodríguez (2009). In 2009, Dorantes, along with a group of Latino writers, began staging Dorantes’ plays under Colectivo El Pozo with hopes of staging Spanish-language original theater work that captured the reality of immigrants in Chicago. Since its inception, he has written and staged Una hormiga en la 26, De camino al Ahorita, Los Carralejas, Colján. The Inexplicable Pastrana, El INCAS, El Campanario, Allá en San Fernando and El Edificio. Dorantes has published two books of short stories, Vocesueltas and Bidrioz, and two novels: De zorros y erizos and Cajitas.
T is a non-binary, queer, brown, poet and visual artists. They use their art as a form of resistance and protest. They hope their work causes audiences to reflect on how the uncomfortable realities of marginalized people can be lived through at all. While calling for action is essential, being able to be aware and breathe through pain is the first step.
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:
SAM KIRK Pilsen Fest is proud to present Sam Kirk. She created the iconic work of art that will be the Pilsen Fest's face and companion on the 2018 journey. She will also receive the Pilsen Fest award Revueltas for her long career and social commitment. Kirk creates artwork to celebrate people and to inspire pride and recognition for underrepresented communities. Her work explores culture, identity, and the politics that have formed society for generations. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, working class communities continue to be Kirk’s key ingredient of inspiration. Partially autobiographical, her vibrant color palette and intricate line-work highlight cultural communities via multi-toned figures paired with nostalgic city scenes from her childhood and travels. Kirk's work intentionally provokes the viewer to look beyond its beauty, to question or find the message that lingers to be discussed. She has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States, worked with many private and commercial clients and made custom artworks for nonprofit organizations in Chicago and New York. For more information visit www.iamsamkirk.com, @iamsamkirk
KARLA WONG In every brush stroke, Karla plasters the splendors of her culture, a culture her parents instilled in her. She pushes the limits and steers away from more traditional elements to give it a magical touch of surrealism. Karla paints magical characters using emblematic symbols of Istmena culture. Such imagery as the hair pieces, papel picado (paper banner), the Tehuano hat, and embroidery among others. She brings such characters to life with brightly-colored detail. Karla Wong was born in Minatitlán, Veracruz, México in 1974. Her father is originally from Ixtepec, Oaxaca and her mother from Santiago La Ollaga, Oaxaca. This is the reason why Karla’s heart very much belongs to the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Karla grew up in Istmo a region of Oaxaca. The region’s tradition of celebrating art and colors are evident throughout her work. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Law and Social Sciences from the University of Oaxaca (U.A.B.J.O.). She has exhibited in the state of Oaxaca, the state of Puebla, multiple museums in Mexico City, numerous cultural houses, and in the National Palace and other prestigious government buildings.
CARLOS BARBERENA is a Nicaraguan self-taught Printmaker based in Chicago. Barberena is the founder of the printmaking project La Calaca Press in Chicago. He has exhibited individually in Costa Rica, Estonia, France, Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain and The United States of America. Barberena on his own words: "Since the 90′s, art has given me the freedom to travel over the ocean of my memories, permitting me to express my sentiments and through this, dig deeply into the vastness of human knowledge, knowledge which has healed me to better understand the world that surrounds us. For me art is a powerful form of communication, which I employ to make reflections and question the issues that we live in our contemporary society, the fears, the desires, the hopelessness, and the nonsense." 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.
ALMA DOMÍNGUEZ Alma Dominguez was born in México (Chihuahua) but is currently residing in the US. 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. 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. Newspapers, metal sheets, oils, acrylic, among other materials are her accomplices in the creation of her work. Her work has been exhibited in México, USA, Spain, Italy, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile and Russia.
VERONICA MARTINEZ is a visual artist based in Chicago. She received her Bachelors in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the spring of 2017. Inspired by the work of artists such as August Sanders, Cindy Sherman, and Kerry James Marshall, Martínez uses portraiture as a means to celebrate difference and it’s many intanglements with class, taste, nostalgia, and history. Her work has been exhibited in Chicago, Italy, and Mexico through the art collective Pintoras Mexicanas.
LUCIE ŠŤASTNÁ After graduating from the Hellichova Graphic School in Prague, Lucie continued her studies at the Sutnar School of Art and Design at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, where she is currently completing her Master’s degree in Illustration, Children’s Illustration and Comics. In her work, she combines classic documentary drawing with non-traditional elements, techniques or methods. Under her brand Trashity, Lucie creates notebooks and sketch books from used and recycled materials. Besides drawing and making books, Lucie is interested in art theory and curatorial practice.
TOMÁŠ STANĚK A Gymnázium PORG graduate, Tomáš is currently completing his fifth year in the Illustration program at the Sutnar School of Art and Design at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. He is the co-founder of XRXmag comic magazine and the author of a noir comic book, Metro. Besides comics, Tomáš also enjoys and keeps busy with painting on walls and canvases, graphic design, book binding, analogue photography, and rapping with his DBKL crew.
JOSEF SEDLÁK After receiving his B.A. in Media and Didactic Illustration from the Sutnar School of Art and Design at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen (Czech Republic), Josef decided to continue his studies at his alma mater and is currently finishing his second year in the Master’s program in Illustration. Since the age of sixteen, Josef has been interested in graffiti and mural art. During his studies, Josef has been working as an illustrator and author of comic books. Together with Tomáš Staněk, he founded the comics magazine XRXmag.