ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) is proud to announce the opening of the exhibition The African Presence in México: From Yanga to the Present on Friday, March 30, 2007. This groundbreaking exhibition highlights Mexico’s “Third Root” and provides an important opportunity to experience and embrace the African legacy in Mexico and the Americas. The free public reception is from 6 – 8 pm on March 30th. A Curator’s Tour is scheduled on Saturday, March 31st at 2 pm in the Art Museum. This exhibition is organized by the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago and will remain on view through August 5, 2007 after which it will travel to el Museo Nacional de Antropología y Historia in Mexico, City.
For nearly 500 years, the existence and contributions of the African descendants in Mexico have been overlooked. Almost a century after Africans arrived in Mexico in 1519, Yanga, an African leader, founded the first free African township in the Americas (January 6, 1609). Since then, Africans have continued to contribute their cultural, musical, and culinary traditions to Mexican society through the present day. This exhibition is filled with paintings, prints, lithographs, woodcuts, movie posters, photographs, sculpture, costumes, masks, musical instruments and other examples of art and popular culture.
“This exhibition has drawn rave reviews in Chicago and in Mexico. It has gained national and international attention and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to host it here in New Mexico,” states Eduardo Díaz, NHCC Executive Director. Also included in this exhibition is a companion exhibition entitled Who Are We Now? Roots, Resistance, & Recognition that investigates the complex relationship between African-Americans and Mexicans in the United States. Tey Marianna Nunn, the Center’s Visual Arts Director and Chief Curator shares, “I think what the curators and scholars who worked on these exhibitions have done so well, is really dig into the complexity of Mexicano and Latino identity. They have brought to our attention a long overlooked – almost ignored – component of culture, art, and community. These exhibitions are really eye-opening and hopefully will make a lot of people think and understand these issues even more.” The African Presence in México: From Yanga to the Present is co-curated by Cesareo Moreno, Visual Arts Director and Chief Curator at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago and Sagrario Cruz-Carretero, professor at the Instituto de Antropología de la Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico City. Who Are We Now? Roots, Resistance, & Recognition is curated by Elena Gonzales, Associate Development Director at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.
In addition to the exhibition the NHCC is proud to offer a diverse mix of public programming in an effort to create a deeper dialogue and understanding of the African presence in Mexico and the Americas. The NHCC is collaborating with the State of New Mexico’s Office of African American Affairs, the African American Museum and Cultural Center and active cultural and educational leaders in Albuquerque’s African American Community. Some of these collaborative programs include a film and lecture series, related exhibitions throughout Albuquerque and a performing arts component. For a complete listing of these programs call 246-2261 or visit www.nhccnm.org
This exhibition is sponsored in part by the following: The National Museum of Mexican Art, Chase, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, The National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Sara Lee Foundation, Boeing, Wallace Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Polk Bros. Foundation, Kraft Foods, Woods Fund of Chicago, Ford Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Albert Pick, Jr. Fund, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council.