Treason Gallery is pleased to present its February solo exhibition Ernesto Yerena Montejano: FULL CIRCLE.
Opening reception will be held on Thursday, February 2ND from 6pm-9pm during the First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square.
FULL CIRCLE will highlight an eclectic collection of new works by mixed media artist Ernesto Yerena Montejano. Yerena Montejano skillfully uses a mixture of collage and stencil work, as well as the vibrancy of traditional Chicano imagery, in an attempt to momentarily share the moral weight of colonization and the untimely effects of the Westernization of indigenous cultures.Working actively as a self described political artist, Yerena Montejano has worked closely with other political artists and activist organizations such as Shepard Fairey and the Amplifier Foundation to name a few. Using his art as an attempt to open dialogues on often avoided topics, Yerena Montejano seeks to empower his viewers with perspective while simultaneously educating them on often overlooked issues.
Yerena Montejano also focuses on presenting viewers with his journey and evolution as a Chicano artist growing up in Los Angeles. Touching on his struggle to decolonize his heritage and expose the lost identity of his culture in the modern world.
WE THE RESILIENT
Ernesto Yerena’s art has always been highly political: from tackling the history of western colonization to discussions about growing up Chicano in southern California, he has consistently sought to shed light on subjects otherwise unheard and ignored. Growing up near the populous border city of Mexicali, his political socialization began at a young age. And in light of the highly divisive and fearful dialogue becoming normalized as an effect of the 2016 presidential election, Yerena has been galvanized to wield his artistry as a tool for progress. Working with renown street artist Shepard Fairey and Colombian artist Jessica Sabogal, Yerena and company have come together to create a moving series of artworks that embrace the diversity of American identity. The group series, titled “We The People,” was commissioned by The Amplifier Foundation as a means to provide images for protesters to bring to President Trump’s inauguration. The non-profit organization regularly works with contemporary artists to champion the voices of grassroots causes, the group also commissioned a series for the hugely successful Women’s March on Washington. Because of limitations on signs at the Washington Mall, the foundation started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $60,000 for distribution of “We The People” via full-page newspaper ads. The campaign has raised over $1.3 million to date, and the images successfully appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times, among other publications. The artworks were also distributed as posters, prints, and large signs throughout the DC area prior to the presidential inauguration.
In the face of hateful and xenophobic language that has recently found its way into the mainstream, it has become more important than ever for artists to stand up and create works of inspiration and inclusion. Yerena’s image in “We The People” depicts an elderly Indigenous woman holding a sign that reads “we the resilient have been here before.” In the early stages of what appears will be a long battle for the control of our nation’s narrative on race, culture, and pluralism, Ernesto Yerena looks to heroes of the past to help guide us through our uncertain future.
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