Diverse, colorful artwork highlights ‘Walk Through Latin America’

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Following the Day of the Dead skeleton processional around campus, a new exhibit, “Walk Through Latin America,” opened Saturday in the Indiana University of Pennsylvania University Museum in Sutton Hall.

The exhibit features authentic artwork and artifacts, which are on loan to the museum from members of both the IUP and Indiana community, from various Latin American cultures.

The diverse collection of mediums and objects includes paintings, photographs, sculptures, jewelry, everyday objects, masks, life-size puppets and ancient artifacts such as molas, which are colorful panels made of cotton and thread.

There was even a book donated by Special Collections and University Archives of the Stapleton Library, along with a Day of the Dead altar representing campesinos, or peasant farmers, of Mexico.

Everything is colorful, and the variety among the pieces match the different cultures of the region.

The pieces showcase the many unique aspects of the life and history in Latin America over the centuries.

Donna Cashdollar, vice president of the museum board of directors, explained how the objects were set up throughout the museum and how the different themes consisted of everyday objects, cultural identity showcased through crafts and art, how cultural identity changed over time because of religious influences and the recapturing and modifying of cultural identity toward tourists and contemporary artists.

During the reception, Mariachi Band Zelaya played traditional music for guests to enjoy while examining the artwork.

Also, graduate students from the department of food and nutrition provided traditional Hispanic foods.

This included atole, abuelita, tamales, calobaza en tacha and alfajores.

William Double, the exhibition coordinator, said the museum has been working on this exhibit for about a year.

It is also the museum’s first time displaying Latin American artwork.

“I think it’s a fabulous exhibit,” Double said. “It is so diverse, mixed and colorful. It’s what we dreamt it should be. I think it is the most exciting exhibit we’ve ever had.”

Lisa McCann (graduate, sociology) coordinated the Day of the Dead festival at IUP.

She also lent some pieces from her personal collection for the exhibit.

McCann spoke of how wonderful it was to see everything come together for the opening.

“I think with the participation of the procession, more than 250 people at the reception and more than 20 departments involved just speaks to the importance and value of Latino culture in the United States,” McCann said. “I am very honored as an IUP student to work on a collaboration project like this that fosters multicultural awareness.”

Ashley Boyton (graduate, fine arts) explained why people should come see the exhibit.

“I think it is good for people to come to the show to expand their cultural knowledge,” she said. “Being able to experience a show of this complexity is very rare.”

Jennifer Blalock (graduate, fine arts) also shared her thoughts on the exhibit.

“I think it is really neat how everything comes together,” she said. “Everything possible is in this exhibit.”

The exhibit will be on display through Dec. 12, and it will close out with Christmas celebrations.