Dulce Pinzón depicts superheroes in her photography, but not exactly the characters from comic books. One takes care of children while wearing a Catwoman costume. Another makes deliveries in a Superman cape. Another unloads containers of fruit at the grocery store donning a Hulk bodysuit.
In the years after 9/11, when Americans were looking for heroes, Pinzón found them in the Mexican immigrant workers whose quiet labor then went unnoticed in New York City.
In the statement for Pinzón’s photo series—in which she dressed real immigrants in superhero costumes—the Mexico City-born artist says her images “pay homage to these brave and determined men and women that somehow manage, without the help of any supernatural power, to withstand extreme conditions of labor in order to help their families.”
One of those images—Clark Kent’s alter ego saving the day on bicycle—is part of a new exhibition at the LSU Museum of Art. “Destination: Latin America” shows how artists from that region have responded to different social, political and economic issues in modern times all the way back to the Mexican Revolution.
Through mediums like sculpture, painting and photography, artists depict the histories and struggles of people in Mexico, South America and the Caribbean in the midst of political upheavals, dictatorships and modern globalization.
For the printmaker Nicolás de Jesús, his work contrasts the traditions in the small Mexican village where he grew up with urban life in Chicago after his immigration there in the 1980s. He still employs his ancestors’ traditional technique of painting on bark paper. Only now, he’s using it to depict everyday life in the village and Chicagoans riding the subway.
To coincide with the exhibition, de Jesús will be a visiting artist to the museum and LSU printmaking classes in November (see the sidebar below for more).
“Destination: Latin America” is on view Oct. 24 to Feb. 9. The museum will host an opening reception Oct. 24 featuring a gallery talk from curator Patrice Giasson. lsumoa.org
Mexican artist Nicolás de Jesús will host a gallery talk and demonstration at the LSU Museum of Art Nov. 3 to coincide with Free First Sunday at downtown museums. As a visiting artist, he will also lead community workshops with the museum’s Neighborhood Art Project and speak to LSU printmaking students. His work will be on display as part of “Destination: Latin America.”
This article was originally published in the October 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.