Pilar Tompkins Citizen, Participant
November 7 – December 10, 2010

Darb 1718 — Contemporary Art and Culture Center
Kasr El Sham3 Street
Cairo, Egypt
+ 2 23 610 511
www.darb1718.com

María Alós
Milena Bonilla
Tania Candiani
Carolina Caycedo
Sandra de la Loza
Karla Diaz
Carla Herrera-Prats

Musical performance by Lysa Flores

Curated by Pilar Tompkins Rivas

Citizen, Participant is an exhibition representing current strategies for artistic production and public intervention in the United States and Latin America today. Grouping seven women of the same generation from four countries in North and South America and the Caribbean, each of the artists shares a similar concern for addressing social agendas within their work, and utilize artistic tactics of performance, relational and service aesthetics, pedagogical practices, research-based projects, and the usage of public and private archives.

The notion of what it means to be a “citizen” can be at once vague and exact. More than a mere labeling of an individual’s status within a nation-state, the idea of citizenry may be defined by an individual’s decision to participate in a community. Taking an active role in shaping social scenarios and political agendas has the potential to ultimately reconfigure history. The artists in Citizen, Participant intentionally adopt practical, poignant and often poetic gestures that occur in the public realm as tactics for artistic statements. These artists are primarily concerned with questioning subjectivity and value, while frequently offering alternative, pro-active solutions and initiatives. Without sidestepping aesthetical concerns, the artists in Citizen, Participant favor a controlled inquiry of social interaction ranging from historical investigations to metaphorical public acts.

Whether in institutional or commercial contexts, these artists frequently reach beyond the limitations of traditional artistic roles, in search of greater public interest, engagement and resonance. While crossing borders and seeking new territories, they encourage the viewer to reconsider their own context and surroundings. Citizen, Participant is reflective of these strategic approaches, while these projects are inspired by the cross-cultural dialog generated by the premise of the exhibition.

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María Alós’ recent exhibitions include The Passerby Museum at the Claremont Museum of Art, Inventário at the Carillo Gil Museum, Mexico City, Haptic at The Contemporary Art Forum, Kitchener, Canada, Viva Mexico! At the National gallery of Art in Warsaw and Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico City at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Milena Bonilla has shown internationally at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam; the second Trienal Poligráfica de San Juan, Puerto Rico; X Havana Biennial, Cuba; Muca Roma Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City; Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogotá; BB3 Bucharest Biennial; Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden; Photographer’s Gallery in London; Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea, UK; and Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló in Castellón, Spain.

Tania Candiani’s recent solo exhibitions include the Centro Cultural España, Mexico City, the Kunsthaus Miami, MACLA, San José, California, Kunsthaus Santa Fe, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California. Additionally, her work has been exhibited in the Cairo Biennial, the Brussels Biennial, Viva Mexico at the Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Poland, the Kaunas Art Biennial in Lithuania, and the National Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow.

Carolina Caycedo’s selected exhibitions include the 10th Havana Biennial, in Havana, Cuba, the 2nd San Juan Poligrafica Triennial, the 2005 Whitney Biennial in New York, Galeria Comerical and Manifesta 6 in Puerto Rico, Localismos in Mexico City, Break It, Ibid Projects, Vilnius, Lithuania and Sonidos de una Ciudad, Allanza Francesa Norte, Bogotá, Colombia. Additionally, Caycedo has exhibited in numerous exhibitions throughout North and South America and Europe.

Sandra de la Loza received her B.A. in Chicano Studies at the University of California, at Berkeley and her M.F.A. at Cal State Long Beach. Recent exhibits include Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement, organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Invisible City at the Instituto Cervantes, Madrid, 18 With a Bullet at the Centro de Arte Modero in Guadalajara, Vexing: Female Voices from East LA Punk at the Claremont Museum of Art and Puerto Vallarta: Arte Contemporaneo 2008.

Karla Diaz is a writer, artist and educator and a founding member of Slanguage, an artist-run space in Wilmington, California where she currently runs the education program. She has presented her work in international venues including the Getty Museum of Art, REDCAT, the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, the Serpentine Gallery in London, and the Zocalo in Mexico City. Diaz writes for several art magazines including Beautiful Decay, FlashArt and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest.

Carla Herrera-Prats was co-director of the gallery Acceso A in Mexico City and is part of the collaborative CAMEL. She has shown her work in Canada, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Herrera-Prats is a Visiting Lecturer at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and taught in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. She received a BFA at “La Esmeralda,” in Mexico City, an MFA at CalArts in Los Angeles, and has participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York.

Lysa Flores is a singer songwriter, activist, actress and producer who started her own label BRINGYOURLOVE records in 1998. Flores is considered a pioneer of the East Los Angeles alternative music scene and has toured extensively in the United States and Europe and has recorded and collaborated with such luminaries as Jonathan Richman, Flaco Jimenez, John Doe, Peter Case, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Bill Frisell, and D.J. Bonebrake of X.

Pilar Tompkins Rivas is an independent curator in Los Angeles, and director of the Latin American branch of the Artist Pension Trust, APT: Mexico City. Ms. Tompkins Rivas is currently curating multiple exhibitions for the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time initiative including Civic Virtue: The Impact of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Watts Towers Arts Center for the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and the suite of exhibitions, L.A. Xicano, to be held at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, LACMA and the Autry Museum.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Artist Pension Trust and

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