Seven of Cuban-American photographer Tony Mendoza's autobiographical images, including Halloween: Lydia, Who Had Just Turned Three, Wanted to Be a Bride, are currently featured in "American Voices: Latino Photographers in the United States." On view through September 28 in the Ripley Center's International Gallery, the groundbreaking show represents a unique cross-cultural collaboration between four Latino curators and 39 artists from the three oldest and largest Spanish-language cultures in the United States--Mexican-American, Puerto Rican and Cuban-American. Originally organized by FotoFest, Inc., of Houston, Texas, the exhibition showcases 210 works that draw on 400 years of cultural history--from the Afro-Caribbean experience of slavery and the California farmworkers' movement to Puerto Rican life in New York City today. "Individually and collectively, these artists confront issues of history, family, memory, diaspora and identity," says Wendy Watriss, FotoFest's artistic director. Together, they reflect the diversity and depth of creative expression among contemporary Latino artists working in the United States. The show will begin a two-year national tour, coordinated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, in 1998.
By Diane M. Bolz