Local artist Ruby Chacon and University of California, Davis professor Natalia Deeb-Sossa have launched their co-exhibit called Creadoras de Cultura: Activismo y Espiritualidad (Creators of Culture: Activism and Spirituality) at Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts.
The pair recently shared their art and experiences in life and work at the Salt Lake Community College Center for Arts and Media. The collaboration focuses on inviting the public to gain insight into and appreciation of the lives of diverse women through vibrant oil paintings and photography.
The focus of the exhibit is to encourage viewers to appreciate the inherent beauty and strength of diverse women, as well as to initiate civil and intellectual discussions.
As cultural producers and storytellers, the artists assert that women weave an important and collective fabric of society throughout the generations. Chacon’s paintings and Deeb-Sossa’s photographs are near mirror images, as they capture the diversity of women through various stages, ages, experiences, and expressions.
Photos by Guadalupe S. Rodriguez
Chacon, an SLCC alumna, speaks of her heritage, community connection and desire to empower others in finding their voice and place at the table. She says she achieved her desire to gain an education (graduating with a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Utah) by overcoming early stereotypes formulated by those in positions of authority.
“My goal is to create a sense of belonging … and empower voice by communicating through a visual medium. I believe art can unite the human spirit,” says Chacon. She encourages students to carry forth, despite obstacles.
Deeb-Sossa pinpoints the day-to-day challenges of immigrant women, which she says is furthered by gender role complications.
As a feminist and scholar, Deeb-Sossa focuses on exploring the dance between women and cultural dissemination. In particular, she emphasizes individual transformations in rising up and uniting to solve community problems. Her photographs provide a window to the world of her subjects through the eye of the viewer.
She describes personal experiences in her native county of Columbia, South America, as example to trials many women face and the need for them and societies to honor their experiences and community contributions.
The collaborative event sponsorship includes the SLCC School of Arts, Communication and Media; SLCC Arts and Cultural Education; Una Mano Amiga; and the Mestizo Institute of Culture and Art.
The exhibit continues through March 14 at the Mestizo Gallery, 631 W. North Temple St., Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gallery photos by Tamara Brune-Wharton