June 15, 2007

Chambers of the Heart: Poetry Readings by collaborators from the exhibition, Mi Corazón Escondido (My Hidden Heart)

At the California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum

Visual artist David Avalos created Mi Corazón Escondido through collaboration with other local artists. The exhibition offers a collective glimpse of Escondido where “the earth shakes under our feet,” states David Avalos, “inspiring some to dance with optimism and faith, and others to dig in their heels while breaking no new ground.” To give voice to this inspiration, poets from Mi Corazón Escondido will give a series of performances, bringing a new dimension to the controversial installation.

June 17: Adrián Arancibia 1:00 p.m.
June 24: Carlos Vonson 1:00 p.m.
July 4: Mónica Navarro & Brandon Cesmat 6:00 p.m.

Each of Avalos’ collaborators is an accomplished artist or poet in his or her own right. By bringing them together, Avalos has created an installation in which these varied voices can resonate together. Working across genres, they create a harmony that sounds strangely out of place in the cacophony surrounding immigration:

Adrián Arancibia is best known as a founding member of the legendary Taco Shop Poets who have appeared in HBO’s Americanos, and PBS’ Visiones. Along with other members of the Taco Shop Poets, Arancibia has been influential in the establishment of Voz Alta, a performance space for emerging artists in San Diego. Arancibia was born in Iquique, Chile in 1971. Since 1980, he has resided in San Diego, California. Arancibia is the co-editor of the Taco Shop Poets Anthology: Chorizo Tonguefire.

Dr. Carlos Vonson is a poet, playwright, photographer and film producer. In 2001, he founded Dionisio Group and the SubUrban Troupe, a theatre group that performs in North County. In 2005 he formed Dionisio Productions and has produced the award-winning independent film Ofrenda Desnuda. Vonson also, produced and edited a documentary based on the border crisis of 2006 called Border Piece. He teaches at Palomar and MiraCosta colleges. Vonson is an active member of the Center of Border Pedagogy from Cal State San Marcos and lectures frequently on the diaspora of the Days of the Dead, the Virgin of Guadalupe, contemporary literature, and other topics related to Mexican and Chicano experiences.

Monica Navarro will be senior at Escondido Charter High School in the fall. She had her first poem published when she was in second grade and has been frequently anthologized. Her poetry has been published by Oak Grove Review and Poetry Laureates. Navarro recently received third prize in a county-wide poetry competition and first prize from Escondido Public Library.

Brandon Cesmat’s book Driven into the Shade (Poetic Matrix Press) received a San Diego Book Award. He produced the digital anthology Cruzando Lineas: Poetry of the Tijuana-San Diego Region. Cesmat is an Escondereño by birth, and though he frequently travels, always migrates back home to Valley Center.

Artwork by David Avalos: In this collection of original works, local artist and California State University professor, David Avalos has created an exhibition that focuses on contemporary life in Escondido. Avalos has transformed everyday objects-scrap wood, junk metals and cast-off gewgaws-into art works suitable for chapels, flea markets, and museum galleries. Along with his collaborators, Avalos’ installation takes into consideration Escondido’s past and its future while making a poignant statement about his current moment in time. Honest and gritty, yet virtually compelling, Mi Corazón Escon-dido requires its audience to reexamine their notions of today’s Escondido.

The title for the show came about when Avalos asked friend and colleague, Gail Perez, what she thought of the subject. She suggested, “Bury my heart in Escondido.” This working title inspired Avalos to make a wooden coffin for a wooden heart. Buried things, however, rarely stay hidden forever. Avalos then created a piece with a nopal (a type of cactus) growing out of a broken heart.

After settling on the title, Avalos mentioned the name of the show to Brandon Cesmat, who teaches with him at California State University San Marcos. Cesmat mentioned a poem he’d written that played on the root meaning of Escondido, which comes from the Spanish verb esconder: to hide or conceal. Cesmat, who was born in Escondido, even knew where the U.S. govern-ment’s camp for Mexican laborers had once been located. Recognizing the significance of Cesmat’s work in relation to the exhibition, Avalos asked him, “Do you want in the show?” And thus the collaboration was born.

Mi Corazón Escondido can be seen at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum through July 4th, 2007. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10-4, Sunday noon-4 and is closed Mondays. Admission is $5 general, $4 for military and seniors, $3 for students and free for 12 and under. First Wednesdays, including July Fourth, are free for all ages.

For more information go to www.artcenter.org

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