by Vincente Alvarez
Being someone of Mexican descent, I have wanted to explore more about my own culture, so I went to the National Museum of Mexican Art. As I was learning more about the Mexican artists that dedicated their work to educating people; I thought to myself what other Spanish-speaking countries have gone through when it came to some of the struggles my culture has gone through. After visiting the National Museum of Mexican Art for the second time, I was surprised to see the exhibition improve from the last time I visited years ago with my family. The building had a tremendous change with more galleries opened to the public.
One area that was recently added was “Los huecos del agua” which is an exhibition of Indigenous art from Mexico. It focused on the recreation of the legacy left behind by Native cultures before Spanish colonizers arrived in present-day Mexico. After interviewing Kaelyn Andrade (Museum Educator at the National Museum of Mexican Art) and witnessing the Indigenous art, I was curious to learn what other cultures have experienced within their art and culture that led them to their traditions today.
Back in June, Puerto Ricans had a parade to celebrate the 3.2 million Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. It got me wanting to learn more about what Puerto Ricans had to go through before they were able to share their culture here. After doing some research, I recently discovered that there was a museum dedicated to Puerto Rican history called The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, where I interviewed the President & Chief Executive Director Billy Ocasio. There I learned a lot in my journey such as Puerto Ricans and their strong belief in religion as well as their own personal obstacles they have to deal with such as higher expenses in the Island of Puerto Rico.
I also learned more about Semillas: Artwork by Raul Ortiz Bonilla with the Lead Docent (a guide and educator), Ignaik Perez. Each of the pieces had many different colors that gave a different emotion and expression to watchers of the art piece. Not to mention the meaning of some of these paintings and the small theatrical views composed on the canvases. Join me and watch as I discover the difference and similarities between Mexican and Puerto Rican cultures and learn about what these cultures have inspired the current traditions of both cultures. As well as watching me learn how important it is to be proud and represent your cultural roots and well as being able to mix those roots with others in your life.
By creating a multicultural exchange and exploring cultural clashes, I hope to hear about others’ experiences with cultural clashes and as well, learn about your journeys. Embrace our diversity, and construct ties that bind us all together. Where we can even build a society where understanding and acceptance triumph over bias and ignorance. Take a stand, speak up, and actively work to dispel cultural misconceptions. Don’t forget to check out both Museums with free entry if you’re interested.
In this issue, we step into worlds different (or similar to) than our own and share our experiences. What does culture/community look like, and how does it affect you? Dive into our “Culture” Issue to hear how youth journalists address this topic.
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