July 20, 2007


Last week for Alida Cervantes’ Exhibit, About Me, in La Jolla

“I don’t have an identity crisis,” says Tijuana artist Alida Cervantes. “I just feel like I don’t belong to any certain group.”

But like it or not, she does.

As Latinos in the U.S., we’re all, to a certain extent, a little torn as to our identity and allegiances. For Alida, her light skin and once-red hair was a tall tale sign of color confusion, not for her though. To San Diegans.

They thought she was white. And not that she goes out of her way to proclaim her Mejicanidad, but, she knows what blood flows through her veins. So, she decided to dedicate an art exhibit (Alida Cervantes: About Me) based on a variety of self-portraits, which flaunt her pale complexion and light brown hair.

“It’s about me on different levels,” she says. “If you’re crossing the border all the time, you’re going back and forth for two different realities.”

The oil paintings are piercing. Reps from Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, where they’re being exhibited, calls Cervantes an up-and-coming artist who is gaining recognition for her work.

The portraits’ attitude lies in the eyes, where she seems to have captured most of her emotions. Whether Aztec princess, Huera de la Rancha or bikini sporting diva with shades and an expression that seems to holler, “y que?”, Cervantes projects varieties of herself in these tall pieces.

But that’s not to say she exalts herself to queen bee. There are moments of desperation in a few, some of which are misinterpreted by viewers as sexual she says.

The portraits are accompanied by a few paintings of street signs throughout Tijuana, mostly fast food chains and gas stations that have sprawled up over the years, which have injected a North American-ized culture for a city, which Cervantes says, hasn’t got any, culture that is.

As a native Tijuanase, she’s carried a love-hate relationship with her hometown. But her father is a Mexico City native and currently an attorney based in Tijuana, like her brother. Her mother is from Mexicali, a housewife, who may have kept her at bay from the bullring, the playas, the people, who lie below the tall Pemex marquee she’s recently painted.

Might be her upper-class up-bringing, having been an artistic apple that fell far from the lawyer-bound family tree.

So, it seems, in her pieces, like her portraits, Tijuana is denying an identity crisis too.

This is the last week to view Alida’s work at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library (1008 Wall St) in La Jolla. Exhibit ends on July 28. Free to the public. For more information, call 858-454-5872 or visit online at www.ljathenaeum.org.


Chicanozauruz 101: Chicano Park and Centro Cultural de la Raza veterano Victor Orozco Ochoa will present his irreverent take on Chicano art in San Diego, its progress and its need to continue within the current generation of artists. Saturday, July 21, at 2 p.m. Centro Cultural de la Raza (2004 Park Blvd). For info, call 619-235-6135.

27th Annual Traditional Danza Azteca Ceremony: The Danca Mex’cayotl commemorates the first Chicano Danza Ceremonies in San Ysidro and Chicano Park in 1975. Three days of celebration will ensue with sacraficial dance, cleansing of the warriors and a dinner to honor past teachers. July 20 – 22. Times and locations vary. For more info, call Beatrice 619-422-6433.


RE:UNION C/S: An art exhibition that represents the reintegration of a Chicano/a arts community that’s been at odds for the past seven years. Together, they pay homage to past and present artists in the San Diego community to look ahead. June 30 – August 12 at the Centro Cultural (2004 Park Blvd) in Balboa Park. For info, call 619-917-8652.

Historia de la Aviación en Mexico/History of Mexican Aviation: Exhibition of paintings by Candelario Casteneda. Each painting depicts a historic event ofr figure in Mexico’s aviation past and is paired with a popular song or poem about aviation. Runs through August 20 at the San Diego Air and Space Museum (2001 Pan American Plaza) in Balboa Park. For info, 619-234-8291.


Teatro Izcalli returns to the Centro performing their hit show Chicano Rehab y Mas! The outrageous comedy inside the Chicano Mind, July 27 and 28. $15 general admission and $10 with student id. Shows begin at 8 p.m. at the Centro Cultural de la Raza (2004 Park Blvd) in Balboa Park.

If you have an event and you think the Latin@ community should know about it, send it to raymond.beltran@cox.net a week before the event date for consideration.

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