Archive for July, 2010

Site-Seeing: MetaPuentes at Richmond Main Street Initiative

July 17, 2010

Curator Anyka Barber invited MetaPuentes to translate our work into window treatments for Richmond Main Street Initiative‘s storefront windows. From now until August 28, you can see banners of our work hanging at RMSI’s downtown offices at 1000 Macdonald Avenue. Where We’re From, an oral history/poetry collaboration between artist and author Summer Brenner and Community Works, working with students at Richmond and Kappa High Schools and their communities of elders, is also on view at 1002 Macdonald Avenue as a part of RMSI’s summer exhibition Site-Seeing.

Banners going up at Richmond Main Street Initiative

For this installation, we laser-cut vellum banners with reproductions of the doors we made for houses in Colima. We also reconfigured some of our project documentation to see whether the images and stories from Colima would translate to the downtown environment of Richmond, California. See what you think:

Banner: A friend picks you up...

Banner with Cruz Sanchez' story

Cruz Sachez banner detail

Installation open 24 hours a day at Richmond Main Street Initiative, 1000 Macdonald Avenue, Richmond, CA.

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No Right Angles: UC Berkeley’s 2010 MFA Exhibition

July 17, 2010

Throughout the spring and early summer of 2010, students from Metas at Contra Costa College collaborated with me (Amanda Eicher) as a part of my thesis research in UC Berkeley’s Art Practice Department.

Cuauhtemoc and friends at Metas

Cuauhtemoc and friends at Metas

Works ready to be installed at Berkeley Art Museum

Artworks ready to be installed at Berkeley Art Museum

For the graduate exhibition, we showed evidence of the conversations we’ve been having all semester – talks about home, safety, violence, mentorship, finding one’s voice, and how to confront the biggest issues teens are facing right now. These talks were designed to stretch from Richmond, California to Colima, El Salvador via text messaging – however, much of the work of discovering what we had to say took place in the classroom and, ultimately, in the museum.

Notes from Colima to Metas participants

Chat request from Colima, El Salvador

Finding out that one of the shared issues between Richmond and Colima – gangs – was having a particularly harsh effect in a neighborhood in Colima where houses had no real doors, we decided to use the sculptural medium of doors to document conversation with – and our messages for – participating teens in El Salvador. Ten donated doors from Ohmega Salvage were fitted to doorways in Colima houses, embossed with words from our conversations, and finished for exhibition in the museum. We also decided to show writings from El Salvador and Richmond in the museum, along with the large templates of doorway openings complete with notes on family’s individual needs.

Graphic designs from the conversations and writings…

were translated by parents and friends, then embossed on the wooden doors (writing by Allen Pablo)…

Embossed text on wooden doors

which were then painted and installed in the museum.

Letters embossed on white door

Detail of Cruz Sanchez’ door

Morena Batres and Noemy Sanchez' front door

Morena Batres and Noemy Sanchez’ front door as installed at Berkeley Art Museum

Paper documents from MetaPuentes conversations

Installation view of chat invitations between Richmond and Colima participants; door template for Morena Batres and Noemy Sanchez’ house (Photograph courtesy of Berkeley Art Museum; copyright Sibila Savage)

Installation view of doors and documentation, Berkeley Art Museum

Installation view of doors, documentation at Berkeley Art Museum (Photograph courtesy of Berkeley Art Museum; copyright Sibila Savage)

The installation went well with the help of Berkeley Art Museum and fellow grads from the MFA program! However, the students at Metas were right in the middle of finals and graduation, so they didn’t install during the school days; instead they came for the artist talks and the openings, to present their observations live.

Meditation at Berkeley Art Museum

July 17, 2010

All the posts on meditation (please scroll down to read some of these writings) ended up being part of the content for a meditation and performance at the Berkeley Art Museum by MetaPuentes participants, as a part of the No Right Angles exhibition, UC Berkeley’s 2010 MFA show.

MetaPuentes participants leading meditation at Berkeley Art Museum

MetaPuentes women preparing the crowd for a group meditation

Mayra Padilla, Metas Director

Mayra Padilla, director of Metas at Contra Costa College, talking about meditation as a tool for self-awareness and how the high school group at Metas have used it over the past two years

Pamela Tapia at Berkeley Art Museum

A (sadly very blurry!) Pamela Tapia leading the group meditation at Berkeley Art Museum

Cynthia Ochoa at Berkeley Art Museum

Cynthia Ochoa (with Jennifer Sanchez, left), reading original work on friendship as a part of the group meditation

Maria Carranza and Abigail Corona at Berkeley Art Museum

Abigail Corona and Maria Carranza reading original writing at Berkeley Art Museum.

After students read their writings, they accepted questions from the crowd. They eloquently responded to inquiries about their writing, their identities as artists, and their connection to the works in the exhibition and our work with teens in El Salvador with answers that wowed the crowd and moved them to tears.
Many thanks to my mother, Jane Magee Mitchell, for taking photos during a very long day of museum-going!

Many thanks, too, to a terrific crowd which included local artists and anthropologists as well as parents of Berkeley MFA graduates and Metas participants. We are so lucky to have the luxury of support from our families and friends!