Paradigm exhibit explores Latin American life

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Justin Favela, Still Life With Plantains and Bananas, After Francisco Oller, 2022. Tissue paper and glue on board, 21 in x 38 in. Photo by Mikayla Whitmore.

A new exhibition at Paradigm Gallery by Las Vegas mixed media artist Justin Favela will reference 19th and 20th century Latin American life through his solo work called “Fresh Cut Fruit.”

The solo exhibition of new work by Favela will be on display at Paradigm at 746 S. 4th St. in Queen Village from March 25 through April 17.

Fresh Cut Fruit features artworks rendered in paper, including piñata-style paintings, sculptures and a large-scale mural. Favela reinterprets his Latin American references and reveals the setter-colonial infrastructure embedded within the visual representations of fruit and landscapes. The artist’s paper renditions reclaim power and identity from the canonically imperial bodies of work they reference. 

Known for large-scale installations and sculptures that manifest his interactions with American pop culture and the Latinx experience, Favela has exhibited his work both internationally and across the United States. His installations have been commissioned by museums including the Denver Art Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas and El Museo del Barrio in New York. He is the recipient of the 2021 Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship.

Favela uses multi-colored layers of tissue paper and glue to create vibrant large-scale murals. Favela amplifies the commodification of the piñata as it is consumed in American culture, utilizing the symbol as a commentary on the absurdity of “authenticity” amid the multitudes of Latinx experience.

For Favela, food serves as a vehicle to explore the ways in which history, culture and identity are systematically alienated from the material to become a digestible illusion for the masses. Favela’s vibrant “piñatas” serve as radical acts of resistance; they not only blur the boundaries between traditional notions of art and craft, but they celebrate the never-ending ways of being Latinx in a world that insists on reducing identities to mere consumer products. 

For more information, visit https://www.paradigmarts.org/.