Betsy Casañas
Nannette Clark
Jerry Macdonald
Jane Madrigal
Brujo de La Mancha
John McDaniel
Pete Ospina
Robert Phillips
Dino Vazquez

Rafael Damast

Rooted In Ancestors is an invitational show asking nine artists to explore the creation of altars as filtered through their own cultural experiences of honoring ancestors. Their individual approach to the curatorial call (the creation of altars) is varied, rich, diverse, and deeply personal.

While some of the artists have chosen to focus their altars on memories of family (honoring the lives and memories of loved ones through the use visual and referential elements that include photos, mementos, and personal objects), others have chosen a more universal view of the subject, referencing nature, migration, religion, and the role that healers play in guarding the sacred knowledge that is part of what is passed down from one generation to the next. The undertaking of curating this show (my first), has been an enriching, rewarding, humbling, and transformative experience. I thank all of those involved for such blind trust.

Through this process I have had the pleasure of working with both of Semilla’s founders, Betsy Cazanas, and Pete Ospina, as well as meeting new artists whose generosity of spirit in giving of themselves for this show without remuneration, defines the very essence of community, and honors the legacies of those who came before. Their voices are captured by Rafael Damast in his video documenting the show. To Rafael, thank you for creating this video without reward, your generosity exemplifies art as a reciprocal gift.

As the show’s curator I am also deeply aware of the risks inherent in asking these nine artists to respond to the subject of ancestors. There are personal risks when you ask any individual (whether they are artists or not) to remember the past:  to mine memory, love, loss, joy, pain; to open doors. I am also profoundly aware that I am asking you, the viewer, to do the same. Thank you for taking the risk. I hope you find the experience of this show rich and rewarding; a way of remembering, of honoring, and reexamining the past, which is intrinsically tied to how we imagine a future.

David Acosta, Curator

Rooted in Ancestors

Opening Reception
Friday, November 5, 2010
6:00 — 10:00 PM

November 5 — 13, 2010

124 W. Diamond Street
Philadelphia, PA

Presented by

Semilla Arts Initiative + Casa de Duende