Latinx artists have always been an integral part of the broader culture of the United States of America. From the influence of Shakira and Sandra Cisneros, to Gina Rodriguez and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the cultural diversity of musicians, authors, actors and visual artists with Latin heritage is staggering and often underappreciated. Of course, Latin culture is as amorphorous and dynamic as the people within it, and the New Latin Wave festival in Brooklyn is aiming to bring contemporary Latinx creativity to a wider audience.
New Latin Wave is a multidisciplinary event that creates a platform for performers, writers, and artists to contribute to the dialogue about Latin indentity and contributions in the U.S. Now in its second year, New Latin Wave will take over Brooklyn Bazaar in Greenpoint on Sunday, October 22, for a day of art and ideas featuring a book and zine fair, a juried video art show, a mini-film fest and a concert. The curators and artists involved come from a variety of backgrounds, but are united by the goal of sharing what's happening in the Latin cultural scene both within the Latinx community and with wider New York audiences.
Composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is currently based in Brooklyn. A longtime member of the Puerto Rican underground music scene, Angélica is part of the indie electro-acoustic pop band Balún where she sings and plays the accordion and keyboards. She writes music for accordions, robotic instruments, toys and electronics as well as chamber ensembles and orchestras and is "interested in creating intricate yet simple narratives that evoke intangible moments in time."
Rocío Aranda-Alvarado is one of the curators of New Latin Wave. She is most well known for her role as curator at El Museo del Barrio, where she has been organizing exhibitions since 2010. She is currently working on an exhibition about the persistence of Mesoamerican imagery in contemporary art, and her work and research focuses on contemporary art and modern and contemporary art of the Americas.
Melissa Orozco Salazar
Melissa Orozco Salazar was born and raised in Mexico City, and she uses art as a means of transformation and social change. She co-founded Escenaconsejo, an arts company that creates multimedia questions. Her digital installation artwork, Moren@s, will be featured at New Latin Wave, and explores the significance of skin color within the Latin community.
"Remember the 'color carne' that we used to color the skin of every person on paper? <>Even ourselves? Did it reflect our latin@s skin?" she asks. "In a society where we are still being divided by the importance it has given to color, where it only wants to acknowledge people with certain physical appearance and where there’s an underrepresentation of multidimensional Latin@s; it’s very important to accept ourselves, celebrate our heritage and take pride in our skin color. Moren@s is a digital installation that helps you distinguish your skin color in RGB and HSB value, so that you’ll be able to use your true color in any way you want."
Margot Terc is a Dominican-born, Bronx-raised writer and artist who creates to process her feelings. Her zine, Soft Hearts Be Knowing, is part of the New Latin Wave Zine Fair.
"Much of my work is focused on heart feels, the sad waves, and the need to use my creativity (and everything else I have) to live a life that resonates with me," she explains. "I know that taking care of myself and my own is an act of resistance and love, and now more than ever I determined to create and build spaces to support our fire and wellbeing."
Steph Guez grew up in the Bronx and currently lives in Brooklyn. She makes autobiographical comics that deal with themes like growing up Latina in NYC, dealing with anxiety and slut-shaming. Her comics blur the lines between comedic and tragic nostalgia.
Yeiry Guevara is a Salvadoran/Texan writer, translator and non-profit consultant curently living in NYC. Her zine, The Savior, is filled with writing and images where memory and family intersect in El Salvador.
These artists, plus many more, will be showcasing their work at the New Latin Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Bazaar on Sunday October 22. Find out more about New Latin Wave here.
Top photo: Angelica Negron
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Molly McLaughlin is a travel and culture writer currently based in Mexico City. Her work has appeared in publications including Lonely Planet, Refinery29 and Ms. Magazine. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @mollysgmcl.