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Exploring the Relationships Between Oaxaca and California

Mexico City-based art expert and poet Amanda de la Garza Mata

Hit play below to listen to our Arts Alive feature on “Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in L.A.”

Exploring the Relationships Between Oaxaca and California
    Ready for more? Listen to an extended version of our Arts Alive interview with Amanda de la Garza Mata below.
Exploring the Relationships Between Oaxaca and California

From San Diego to Santa Barbara, from Long Beach to Palm Springs, more than 60 cultural institutions all over Southern California are coming together for a major arts initiative opening this week. It’s called Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, and it explores Latin American and Latino art, in dialogue with the city of Los Angeles.

A dramatic visual component of the festival is set to be unveiled September 16 at the Central Library: “Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in L.A.”, presented by the Library Foundation, and encompassing more than 70 events throughout the LA Public Library system.

The eight new murals, created by the Oaxacan artist collective Tlacolulokos, form a kind of dialogue, even a corrective to the Central Library’s more than 80-year-old existing murals in the Library Rotunda, the work of artist Dean Cornwell. Curator of the new panels, Mexico City-based art expert and poet Amanda de la Garza Mata, notes those early murals depict indigenous people primarily as slaves, always seen in a subservient role to the colonizers. Amanda tells me the new ones, which will be exhibited in the rotunda along with Cornwall’s originals, “depict what it is to be indigenous today, especially in terms of the close relationship between Oaxaca and California. They present another perspective of the history we have in common.”

“Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in L.A.” opens as the people of Oaxaca are reeling from the effects of the devastating 8.1 earthquake earlier this month, in which more than 90 people lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands were displaced. Amanda de la Garza Mata believes it is an especially powerful time for LA’s sizeable Oaxacan community to experience this colorful tribute to the power of their heritage.

The exhibition kicks off with a free celebration Sept. 16 from 12-5pm at the Central Library, with a silk-screening workshop, tours, refreshments, and dance performances. More at

Written by:
Gail Eichenthal
Gail Eichenthal
Published on 10.01.2018