MexiCali Biennial

CALAFIA: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise, 2018

“Calafia” is a group exhibition featuring 30 artists from California and Mexico that seeks to explore the spirit of California by using the mythological Black female warrior who is the namesake and ruler of the fictional island of California, as a source of inspiration and artistic departure . From Garci Rodrigues de Montalvo’s fifth book of his sixteenth-century opus The Esplandian Sergas (The Adventures of Esplandian), the story of the great Queen Calafia and her army of Amazon women is told with that wonder not only establishes her place as a powerful influence on California, a region which spans both sides of the US and Mexico border, but also as a reflection of the ongoing history of the area. The story tells of the rich island of California and its powerful women,

The parallels between the myth of Calafia and current day inhabitants of the great state of California do not stop at its etymology. From the cinematic glamor of Hollywood to its identity as a fertile paradise, to its association with gold and riches, the story and character of Calafia can be a point of critical interrogation used to explore and critique California’s stories, contradictions, and identities.

Nicole Antebi, antenna, Abraham Avila, Raul Baltazar and Victoria Delgadillo, Juan Bastardo, Carlos Beltran, Chris Christion, Artemisa Clark, cognate collective, Yutsil Cruz, Nikki Darling and Dean Erdmann, Jorge R. Gutiérrez, Xandra Ibarra, Jane Chang My, Kristi Lippire, Keaton Macon, Maya Makrandilal, Ruben Garcia Marrufo and Maximiliano Martinez, chinwe okona, Noe Olivas, Monica Rodriguez, Sandy Rodriguez, Julio M Romero, Luis Alonso Sanchez, Andrea Sofia Santizo, #SNATCHPOWER, Mariangeles Soto-Diaz, Sergio Teran, Diane Williams and Jenny Yurshansky

In conjunction with the 2018/19 MexiCali Biennial programming, a special exhibition titled “Reclaiming Myth” will be on display at the Dutton Family Gallery, housed within RAFFMA. This exhibition is part of a Summer Research Grant sponsored by California State University, San Bernardino, Office of Student Research and is a collaboration between the CSUSB Department of Art, RAFFMA, and the MexiCali Biennial. The project was organized by Assistant Professor of Art Ed Gomez and includes artwork by distinguished Artist in Residence Mely Barragan and artists (CSUSB students) Ryan Clark, Paul Garcia, Melora Garcia, and Juan Nevares. “Reclaiming Myth” will open alongside Calafia on Thursday, Oct. 4, 6-8 pm and will be on display through Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018.
Know then, that there is an island called California, very near to the locale called the Terrestrial Paradise. It was populated by black women, with no men among them, for they lived in the fashion of the Amazons. They possessed strong and firm bodies of ardent courage and great strength. Their island was the strongest in all the world, with steep cliffs and rocky shores. Their arms were decorated with gold, as were the harnesses of the wild beasts they tamed and rode. 
– Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo,  Las Sergas de Esplandian, Calafia


Ed Gomez

Ed Gomez is an artist, curator and educator who received his BFA in Painting from the Arizona State University in 1999 and his MFA in Painting from the Otis College of Art and Design in 2003. Since then he has been exhibiting his work nationally and internationally. and Curating several art exhibitions that deal with the region of California and Mexico as an area of ​​aesthetic production.

The interdisciplinary practice of Ed Gómez’s art revolves around the interrogation of exhibition practices, institutional framework and historical models of artistic production. In 2006, he co-founded the MexiCali Biennial, a binational art and music program aimed at the border region between Mexico and the United States. He is currently the director and co-president of the program. This project serves not only as a curatorial project but also as a satirical declaration of the abundance of biennials that occur around the world and the impact they have on the artistic community. Mr. Gómez is also the director of GOCA, the Galería de Arte Contemporáneo, which is an itinerant and independent exhibition space humorously located in his suitcase. He has presented emerging and established artists from Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York and Mexico. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at California State University San Bernardino.

Luis G. Hernandez

Luis G. Hernández is an artist and curator who lives and works between southern California and Mexicali, Mexico. The aesthetic production of Hernández consists of sculptures, paintings, drawings, collages and installations that respond in a subtle way to the space where they are exhibited. The artist makes provocative associations, humorous and often absurd associations between context, materials and language, working through these elements as if they were sculptural spaces, and incorporating themes that point to the history of art, politics and business. border.

In 2006, Luis G. Hernández and artist Ed Gómez co-founded the MexiCali Biennial, a non-profit event that gives exposure to artists and places that are often overlooked in the contemporary arts of Southern California and Mexico. The MexiCali Biennial remains to serve not only as a curatorial or artistic project, but also as a satirical platform to question the abundance of biennials that occur around the world and the impact they have on the artistic community. The last edition of the MexiCali Biennial took place in 2013 and was held at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles; Jaus Gallery, Santa Monica; Mexicali Rose: Arts / Media Center, Mexicali; And Faculty of Arts, UABC, Mexicali campus.

The individual exhibitions of the artist include: A Temporal Thing, Artere-a, Guadalajara, Mexico (2016); Untitled # 53, Proxy Gallery, Los Angeles (2015); Variants, Robert and Frances Fullerton Art Museum, San Bernardino, CA (2012). Recent group exhibitions include: Personalization Language, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles (2016); Elías Fontes Collection: History and Story, El Cubo, CECUT, Tijuana (2016); Punk Povera, WUHO, Los Angeles (2016); REVISION GLOCAL / REVIEW / BEIJING-TIJUANA 2012-2015, Cecut, Tijuana (2015); Territorial Actions, Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City (2014).

Luis G. Hernández is the current director of Steppling Gallery at San Diego State University-IV Campus. He obtained his MFA from Otis College of Art in 2003.

Daniela Lieja Quintanar

Daniela is a Los Angeles-based curator whose study interests include contemporary art and curatorial practices that explore the political and social issues of everyday life. She currently serves as Project Coordinator and Contributing Curatorial Adviser for the upcoming exhibition and publication “Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action” in the nineties Mexico at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, as part of PST LA / LA . He recently worked with the artist Teresa Margolles, as coordinator of art projects, for her contribution to the Biennial of Public Art CURRENT: LA Water. In addition, he worked as a research assistant in the Urban Transfer project (s): At the Getty Research Institute: Building theLatin American metropolis from independence to the threshold of modernism . In 2014, he cured Territorial Acts (Territorial Actions) at the Ex Teresa Museum in Mexico City, with two weeks of daily public programming. The master’s thesis of Liège The territories of resistance : the impact of the Zapatista rebellion on artistic practices in Mexico City, 1994-1995, is the basis of his ongoing research on the territories of resistance in Latin America through the arts and politics. She was the coordinator of the LUGAR_CERO research center in the Historic Center of Mexico City since 2011-12, a traveling project that explored the complexity of public space. At the same time, she was the editor of the Bunker arts section for the MXMagazine Registry. Liège has a BA in Cultural Studies from the University of the Cloister of Sor Juana, Mexico City, and a Masters in Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere of USC.

Project and Research Coordinator:

April Lillard-Gomez

April Lillard-Gómez is an independent curator, arts administrator and arts advocate. She has been a member of the board of directors and is currently an administrator of the MexiCali Biennial since its creation in 2006. She specializes in the solicitation of funds, in relations with the media and in fostering opportunities for collaboration between artists and artistic organizations. Research topics and curatorial interests include New Americana, the frontier as a means of aesthetic production and art as protest. Previous curatorial projects include Mass Emergencies at the Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, which focused on the post-apocalyptic crisis and disaster protocols of Long Beach and SOS (Save Our States),

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