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Grafica Libre: The art of change

Prints+of+repurposed+currency+by+artist+Vlocke+Negro+is+shown+in+the+gallery%2C+Negro+is+a+Mexican+street+artist+whose+work+can+be+found+through+the+streets+of+Mexico+City.
Iziah Moreno
Prints of repurposed currency by artist Vlocke Negro is shown in the gallery, Negro is a Mexican street artist whose work can be found through the streets of Mexico City.

There is no magnetic force stronger than passion; a small action can attract boundless talent from any corner of the world, and “Grafica Libre” has attracted a passion for change. The exhibition is a collaborative work from over 40 international, regional and local artists ready to bind their creations and showcase their voices.   

“Grafica Libre” is a contemporary art showcase, mostly composed of printed posters from a variety of styles and artists. Gram Om, Erre and Kill Joy, among other members of the roster, tackle political, social and psychological issues that plague the lives of the artists or the world around them.  

“The art is very raw and graphic,” said co-curator Ramon Cardenas. “We were interested in social justice issues, revolution, and themes of resistance through posters. Nothing is hidden, the art really makes it clear what is being said.”  

Cardenas expanded on the artists’ graphic depictions of violence and people. Many of the pieces contain ominous depictions of their home country including violence against women, minorities, corrupt governments, inequality on race, gender and feminist movements among other things.   

“It is really our way of making ourselves heard and giving these experiences to the people looking at our art,” Cardenas said. “We often have to make a name for ourselves, but with collaborations like these we call all help each other find notoriety.”  

Cardenas explained that they wanted artists who can be found outside of galleries. Some of the artists even added QR codes to their work so they can be found and followed throughout their careers. As part of the revolutionary theme, Cardenas explained that having this angle would benefit their message as well as the people interested in their art.   

Cardenas himself has an Instagram page managed by his wife called “Los Dos.” They have curated the event and promoted it using some of the artists’ work. Finding a space to share their art was another big step for them, with talks about making a book about these various artists.   

“Grafica Libre” is located on 216 Overland Dr., in the downtown area of El Paso. The building is a historical building for the city. Cardenas commented on the new possibilities of downtown El Paso.   

“The building had been abandoned for years and had gone through some remodeling,” Cardenas said. “It is a great opportunity to turn something historic into a new movement, giving new life to the city.”  

The exhibition opened Aug. 31 and will continue through Sept. 23. After El Paso, the exhibition is expected to open in Juárez, Mexico. Much of the art tackles the difficult subject of the city with some of the artists capturing the hard realities of life on the border.   

“Our work is a universal speech,” Cardenas said. “And it is our dream to break the barriers in our society.” 

Eugenio Cantu is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Eugenio Cantu
Eugenio Cantu, Guest Contributor
Eugenio Cantu is currently majoring in digital media production with a minor on film. He is a video game and movie aficionado, he loves writing and aspires to be a novelist.
Iziah Moreno
Iziah Moreno, Photo Editor
Iziah Moreno is the photo editor for The Prospector. He is a freshman majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in marketing. After graduation, he hopes to work in the world of photojournalism and media.
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