Inspired by Latinx stories, voices, and reasons for migration from homelands, Indie Grits will be showcasing works from artists that have a strong presence throughout the Southeast, as they tackle the theme of Visiones, explore the humanizing power of storytelling, and redefine what it means to be a part of the Latinx diaspora experience. These artists are from various disciplines and have unique ways of shedding light on the realities of the Latinx community–their works will immerse festival goers in the complex notion that is Visiones and demonstrate the heterogeneity of the Latinx community. The Visiones of our visiting artists will range from hallucinogenic images and androgynous figures to the revelatory experience of truth in the climate of deception the world finds itself in.
From: Miami, FL
Mural Location: Corner of Taylor and Assembly
Date: Ongoing mural during April 20-23
For this year’s mural, the MILAGROS collective borrows from the visual vocabulary of traditional Latin American ex-votos–painted votive offerings presented to saints in exchange for luck or healing. Ex-votos (also known as milagros) are often hung with red ribbons. By utilizing the same vibrant red in the design for their mural, MILAGROS offers the Latinx community of Columbia–and the South at large–a prayer for hope in troubled times.
MILAGROS co-founders Felici Asteinza and Joey Fillastre, along with their ever-changing cast of collaborators, create site-specific works that explore the history of place through striking arrangements of color. With an exuberant style that champions the hand made and the intuitive, MILAGROS energizes public spaces with effervescent patterns that obliterate the seams between structures and highlight the unique attributes of the surrounding architecture.
Working to reinforce individual strength through collaboration, MILAGROS operates according to the belief that mutual respect and trust allow for a free environment of evolving creation. The spirit of playful spontaneity MILAGROS brings to their work results in community-based projects that radiate human dignity.
From: Tampa, FL
Project: Cabaret: Unsung Heroes
Installation Location: Columbia Museum of Art, from March 23 – May 15
Drag queens, go-go dancers, bartenders, DJs–these are the Unsung Heroes in Santiago Echeverry’s Cabaret, a series of three-dimensional portraits and video art pieces about the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. This celebration of individuality and liberty among queer immigrants in the United States is inspired by the men, women, and gender nonconforming individuals of Broward County, Florida, where the artist makes his home.
Echeverry’s work grapples with the politics of perception and self-invention in the digital age, exploiting the tension between high- and low-resolution digital imaging and utilizing technologies both basic (computer webcams) and advanced (kinetic sensors) to develop three-dimensional self-portraits, animations, and interactive installations.
Santiago Echeverry is a Colombian-American new media and digital artist with a background in television, video, and performance art. He moved to Florida in the fall of 2005 to teach Digital Arts and Interactive Media at the University of Tampa. Through his works, Echeverry has heightened his visibility as an openly gay new media artist, promoting change in his community through video art, documentaries, performances, and political activism.
“In my current work, Cabaret: Unsung Heroes, I am committed to capturing the memories, lives, motions, experiences, and appearances of the LGBT community, especially in Tampa and Wilton Manors, Florida. As a digital creator, it is my responsibility to add a human component to current technologies, exploring how these can enhance the understanding of our relationship to the world.” – Santiago Echeverry
Event: Lecture on the Artist’s Process with Santiago Echeverry
Date: Thursday, April 20 at 12 p.m.
Location: Columbia Museum of Art
Event: Gallery Talk with Santiago Echeverry in Cabaret: Unsung Heroes gallery
Date: Friday, April 21 at 5 p.m.
Location: Columbia Museum of Art
Andrea Patiño and Univision Digital News
From: Miami, FL
Project: In Danger of Deportation: A 360° Documentary Short Video Project
Installation Location: the Nickelodeon Theatre, from April 20-23
Andrea is a visual journalist from Bogotá, Colombia, and has been living in the U.S. for the past seven years. In 2012 Andrea graduated from Duke University where she majored in cultural anthropology, and four years later got a master’s degree in Media and Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Most of her work deals with immigration and global mobility. Andrea is currently based in Miami, where she is working as a video fellow for the video features team at Univision.
Under this new administration, undocumented individuals and their families stand at a greater risk of deportation now more than ever before. This immersive 360° virtual reality (VR) experience highlights the anxieties unique to undocumented life in the US, exposing audiences to the injustices of a deeply flawed national immigration system.
Produced in collaboration with the video features team at Univision Digital News, In Danger of Deportation is an urgent and intimate VR documentary series detailing the struggles of five different undocumented men and women trying to build a better future for themselves here in the US.
From students shielded by the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to vulnerable parents facing possible prosecution by the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the scope of this project is wide ranging, grappling with the real world ramifications of institutional indifference.
“The protagonists of these stories are resilient, have loved and suffered, and have committed mistakes,” the video features team at Univision Digital news writes. “Their immigration status and future in this country are uncertain. We hope this project triggers a thoughtful and humane reflection about the lives of undocumented immigrants and of the risks that many of them face today.”
From: Winchester, VA
Project: Interwoven Identities Mural
Where: Richland Library
Date: April 22 from 12-5pm
Abigail Gomez is a Cuban-American visual artist, educator, and arts advocate from Virginia. She earned a BFA from Virginia Tech and an MFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Her artwork has been featured in solo and group shows in Virginia, New York, California, Italy, and Cuba. Most recently, Gomez has been appointed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to serve on the Virginia Commission for the Arts, representing the 10th Congressional District.
Gomez is a firm believer that art is, and must remain, a truly universal practice, transcending borders, languages, culture, and age. Gomez believes that accessibility to the arts is a vital part of creating and maintaining engaged and vibrant communities, and her public art projects, hosted both in the United States and abroad, encourage multigenerational participation by community members.
Inspired by the Indie Grits 2017 theme, Gomez will create a mural that explores the concept of Latinx identity in an intercultural, modern world. The project will be participatory, allowing the public to have an authentic experience with mural painting. While interacting, collaborating, and building with the Columbia community, Gomez will use her experiences as a Cuban American to guide and influence the imagery in the artwork in order to showcase the complex and interwoven identities of the Latinx culture landscape.