When Christopher Martinez-Luna's Mother was a schoolgirl in the 1950's she was punished for speaking Spanish in school. "She grew up in what I call 'the assimilated '50's'" he says. "She was told not to be Hispanic."
As a result, Martinez-Luna did not learn Spanish or much about his parent's Mexican culture until later in life. In his new mixed-media show at Lead Gallery and Wine Bar, Martinez-Luna hopes to do a little teaching of his own-to show how Mexican culture is a part of our daily lives.
The exhibit, titled "Products of Assimilation: The New American Dream," shows at Lead Gallery through May 2.
The 31-Piece exhibit includes drawings with products from grocery stores attached to the works, such as Tabasco sauce bottles, as found in Hecho en USA (Made in USA).
Much of Martinez-Luna's work is not an indictment of the use of Mexican stereotypes as it is recognition of them. In Hecho en USA, he even uses his name on a phony salsa label, as if to suggest he is the maker. "I'm just elevating the fact that in American culture there is Mexican culture," he says.