A new exhibit at the Richmond Arts Center has made the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Don’t Miss” list for this weekend.
Provocative works from longtime Bay Area artist and Salvadoran-born Victor Cartagena will be on display at the Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave., through May 30. The artist will discuss the collection at the exhibit Saturday at 3 p.m.. An opening reception follows from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The show, called Sites/Sights of Intervention, is the first under the center’s new exhibitions director Anthony Torres.
The exhibit includes fragments of Cartagena’s past works that reflect his experiences as an immigrant who fled El Savador’s bloody civil strife in the 1980s, as well as his subsequent two-decades in the Bay Area. While the collection brings up socioeconomic issues and the immigrant experience, among other important topics, it is foremost an aesthetic statement on memory, Cartagena said.
“What I really want is for people to come and explore what memory is and how memories relate,” the artist said.
For example, the image above combines memories of gun violence in El Salvador with gun violence in the U.S.
“Those without memories aren’t living anywhere,” Cartagena said.
Cartagena uses various media to tell his stories, including printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture and audio and video. He said immigrants from all over the world can relate to the experiences expressed in the exhibit.
“Really the exhibit is kind of a call; it’s not just looking at what is ugly, painful or horrific, in some ways it is a call and a recognition,” Torres said.
While Cartagena’s artworks are individually impressive, the exhibition as a whole tells a much fuller story, Torres said.
“I especially like them in concert with each other,” Torres said. “Put together they speak to a larger overall issue.”