Heartfelt art combines cultures
Posted Oct. 20, 2006

Maria Villalpando

Cypress College students Danielle Wells and Lupita Gallegos critique “Campo De Algodon” by Victoria Delgadillo. The Cal Poly Pomona Downtown Center is exhibiting work inspired by Dia De Los Muertos. The exhibit also featured work by Vi Gallardo. The reception for the artists was held Saturday. The exhibit will run through Nov. 4.

The Arts Colony of Downtown Pomona was full of people from different walks of life. An open parking spot was a rare thing to find on this busy Saturday night.

There were several different art shows taking place that evening but what drew me in was the live band outside of the Cal Poly Pomona Downtown Center.

The exhibits waiting for me inside were something that I could not have expected.

 “Soigné,” which means “dressing up” in French was the main exhibit by Victoria Delgadillo. Delgadillo has become known for her efforts to raise consciousness about the murders in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

“Soigné” was originally going to be a solo exhibit, but Delgadillo and the Downtown Center decided to include another artist by the name of Vi Gallardo.

Gallardo’s work focuses on Indo-Hispanic culture.

“The two artists were extremely different,” said Zara Cardoso, a University of La Verne pre-law major who attended the reception. “They have very different perspectives, but I liked them both for different reasons.”

Cardoso could not have been more right; the two exhibits were undeniably different.

Gallardo’s work gave a look into a culture that is not often seen. With her Spanish father and her American Indian mother, Gallardo said she was “torn between two cultures,” and you could see it in her work. Her pieces were a beautiful depiction of a life we could only wish to understand.

As breathtaking as her work may have been, it was very one-dimensional.

“I loved her paintings but they were something that only she could relate to,” Cardoso said

On the other hand Delgadillo showed us several sides of her character, heart and personality.

When I entered the building I was immediately overwhelmed and besieged by grief. This is because her political work was dedicated to the hundreds of missing women in Juárez, Mexico.

But then I could not help but laugh when I saw her work making fun of the issues surrounding body image.

On the other hand when I looked into the eyes of her self-portraits, I felt as if I had known her for years.

“Her work was very powerful,” Mary Zech, a resident of San Bernardino, said.

 “Sad, but powerful,” she added.

All of Delgadillo’s work is meant to make a statement.

She said she wanted to bring awareness of the atrocity that was, and still is, happening right across our border in Mexico.

Her work, along with that of other artists, helped to create national pressure on Mexico to find out and stop what was happening to the women in Juárez.

“There is power in art,” Delgadillo said.

And she used that power to make her points, whether they were political, social or personal messages.

There were many unsure faces that wandered through the exhibit looking at Delgadillo’s art, all of them trying to take in its meaning.

There were at least 20 people at the exhibit at all times with an estimated total attendance of about 300 to 400 people.

May Phan, a student at Cal Poly Pomona, said viewing the show was an assignment for her class that focused on ethnic and woman’s studies.

For art lovers and novices alike, the exhibition is stimulating, moving and more than worth the short drive from La Verne to downtown Pomona.

The exhibition ends Nov. 4.

For more information visit the Downtown Center’s Web site at www.class.csupomona.edu/downtowncenter/.

Jillian Peña can be reached at jpena2@ulv.edu.

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