It is with great enthusiasm that I, Joaquin Alejandro Newman, submit my recent paintings for consideration in the exhibition, Intersection: World Culture In The East Bay.
As a lifelong Oakland artist, I celebrate the diverse cultures that color my hometown. Oakland has embraced the flavor of fusion, from high-end Mexican-American cuisine, to the décor of renovated theaters, to creations of high-impact visual art. The many paintings, murals, and digital images that I create in this vein reflect this fusion and seek to evolve the conversation of diversity, origins of culture, and paint a vision for the future of indigenous arts.
I believe that cultural expression is important in our city and in our age. My Mexican-Indian ancestors (and those of many who have immigrated to the Bay Area) had to shed their overt cultural expression in assimilating to life in the United States. I believe that we need to actively synthesize our contemporary culture from the many ethnic identities, stories, and traditions that we find here. The value of our internationalism is in the uniqueness of each culture and the inherent cultural knowledge each embodies.
Of the two works I submit for consideration, the recent painting “¿De Donde Eres?” is part of a series of paintings that seek to examine a shift in identity expression, as well as the bold act of expressing one’s cultural heritage. Depicting two women of uncertain national origin, their Japanese style kimono is made of traditional Guatemalan textile designs, while their environment reflects their mixed origins and the effects of a seemingly shrinking world.
The other painting, “Zeke’s Ride” is a painting in the modern tradition of Dias de Los Muertos (Days of the Dead) in the Bay Area. In this piece, a local builder of custom low-rider bicycles is riding one of his creations on a mythical tour of the cities of the world. This painting is one of many that are popular during the Dias de Los Muertos celebrations in the Bay Area, and reflect the Oakland flavor of this traditional Mexican holiday.
I believe that these works reflect the intention of this exhibition, and will celebrate the unique flavor of Oakland.
-Joaquin Alejandro Newman