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Selma art exhibit features Hispanic artists
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Selma art exhibit features Hispanic artists

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乐动体育The second in a series of Selma Arts Foundation exhibits brings together two artists who’ve long been a part of an art movement born during the social unrest of the 1960s.

乐动体育Ezequiel Lee Orona and Juan Ybarra were part of a group of artists who studied under Fresno muralist Ernesto Palomino. A combined showing of their work, “Dos Amigos.” will be on display at the Selma Arts Center’s art gallery annex until March 28. The event is sponsored by the foundation.

“I don’t see them as my students. I see them as my colleagues,” Palomino said at a March 2 kick-off at the arts center. Palomino interviewed the two artists during the opening, whose works run the gamut from sculptures to three-dimensional displays, etchings and multi-media paintings.

乐动体育Palomino said having a showing of Hispanic artists’ works on display is one way to give voice to issues that affect the local community. The artwork typically addresses the struggles of farmworkers.

“This show is important. It shows that we haven’t forgotten who we are, that we haven’t forgotten the issues that face us every day. We haven’t forgotten what we’ve had to go through to be in this country and be accepted,” Palomino said.

Palomino earlier donated a bronze statue, “Coatlicue and the Farm Workers’ Truck,” that now sits in the northwest corner of Lincoln Park. Since the 1970s, he’s spearheaded an effort to give Latino artists a voice through his group known as La Brocha del Valle, or The Brush of the Valley. Palomino also collaborated with Orona to work on murals that are still on display in Fresno.

“He was one of the only people around that had that kind of energy and interest in what I was trying to do,” Palomino said of Orona.

Orona traveled from Las Vegas for the showing, where he operated an art gallery. Ybarra lives in Corcoran.

“We tried this before in Corcoran, but it didn’t turn out the way I wanted,” Ybarra said of a showing many years ago.

Orona, meanwhile, grew up in Madera, and said the trip to Selma has made him nostalgic.

乐动体育“I think I was [in Selma] in the ‘70s. I haven’t been back since that time. I miss the small-town atmosphere that I grew up in. I’m trying to get back.”

Cat Jacques assisted in organizing the exhibit and addressed the audience in Spanish.

乐动体育“What they’re doing here in Selma with their murals and beautifying their town is really badly needed everywhere. This town has a really good start,” she said.

乐动体育Corcoran’s Patty Robertson said Ybarra has worked as a carpenter with her family for the past 30 years. She sees him as an artist though.

“His work tells such a story. You can look at it and when you figure it out, the lights come on,” she said. “I think he’s done such a wonderful job of capturing the lives of the Hispanic farm worker, which is where his heart’s always been.”

乐动体育After reading from one of Orona’s poems at the exhibit opening, Selma Mayor Scott Robertson said having the art shows and murals are part of an effort to revitalize the downtown area.

“I urge you to walk the city tonight and take a look at our four murals. There are two murals in the planning stages right now,” he said.

Palomino urges young people especially to view the exhibit and use art to share their experience.

“This is one way to get young people involved, because art speaks to everybody. This helps people to see they’re not alone, that we have a tool and the tool is art. That art is about who we are. Art talks about our feelings and our history. That’s what this is.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com

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