Latin American and Caribbean art exhibition coming to Kalamazoo highlights cultural effects of Asian immigration

A report by Samuel J. Robinson for Michigan Live.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is preparing to welcome a touring exhibition that features around 70 influential works by Latin American and Caribbean artists of Asian heritage, the institute announced in a press release Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Cultural Encounters: Art of Asian Diasporas in Latin America & The Caribbean, 1945–Present, will take over all of KIA’s main floor galleries, according to a release from the museum. The exhibit opens Friday, Oct. 23, and runs through Jan. 17, 2021.

The exhibition explores Asian migration to Latin America and the Caribbean, and its influence on modern and contemporary art. The long-awaited exhibition was inspired by the permanent collection of the Art Museum of the Americas of the Organization of American States. The Washington D.C. institution is the oldest museum of modern and contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Art in the country.

The exhibition coming to KIA aims to demonstrate histories of assimilation, and how its included works emerged from global dialogues between the artists, their Asian cultural heritages, their Latin American or Caribbean identities and their interaction with artistic movements of their time.

“This very important exhibition shines a much needed light on the contributions of Latin American and Caribbean artists from the Asian Diaspora, showing that their works and practice from the 1940s through the present were and are just as much a part of global dialogues as any of their European and American counterparts,” Chief Curator Rehama Barber said in the release.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will be one of only three U.S. locations to welcome the exhibition, along with San Antonio, Texas, and Washington D.C.

Included in the exhibition is artwork in a variety of mediums that includes paintings, works on paper, sculptures, installations and mixed media. The works are by artists from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

It will showcase the work of artists such as Wifredo Lam, Manabu Mabe and Tomie Ohtake, among others.

Kalamazoo Institute of Art galleries, gift shop and library are open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum suggests visitors pre-book tickets online to help ensure availability.

As part of the institute’s Cultural Membership Exchange celebration through the month of October, any active member of the Gilmore Car Museum, Binder Park Zoo, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Air Zoo and WK Kellogg Bird Sanctuary can qualify for free entry.

While the gallery shop and library remain open during its normal hours, the institute’s galleries are closed until the debut of the Cultural Encounters exhibition.

The museum is asking that all visitors ages 2 and up wear masks and maintain social distancing. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the museum and restrooms are being monitored and cleaned with increased frequency.

Those interested in visiting the seasonal exhibition can online to book tickets or for more information.

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