“New Mesitzx” exhibit explores intersections of cultural identity

SAN FRANCISCO — It was a packed house at the Acción Latina’s Juan Fr. Fuentes gallery, all for a new group presentation — New Mesitzx.

12 local artists who represented Filipino, Latino, and other groups were chosen to explore the intersections of cultural identity in the Bay Area.

This show is inspired by the work of Gloria Anzaldua. She is a Chicana, queer writer who writes poetry and she’s coined the term “New Mesitza,” said Samantha “Sami See” Schilf.

And that person is someone who has a foot in multiple worlds, multiple cultures, multiple languages and from that middle point creates a new way of being.”

Through photography, mixed media, prints, paintings, textile, and audio installations, artists explore how gentrification, motherhood, transnational migration and intergenerational transmission of culture informs how they choose to remember or redefine traditions.

Harvey Lozada took a friend’s bike and hung pictures of social movements like the Frisco 5 hunger strike against police brutality.

“On the bottom to see the Ifugao print, the tradition clothing. The Filipino clothing that I used on the bottom is used to represent me and my culture holding up what I created for this show. // Each of the prints you see from left to right or from front to back symbolize the movement that I wanted to display today.”

Artists here hope that through their pieces others can understand that there is a unique culture found in San Francisco that they say is being marginalized.

“Everybody was always asking me to pick one. What the one you most identify with? Or what’s the most prominent one? And that’s not how I function. That’s not how my family functions. We are brought up with all of our culture, with all of our traditions so to me I’m equally parts all of those things.”

“People come to our neighborhoods and they appreciate our art. They want to take pictures of our art but they don’t really know the things that we go through as people of color and the skin that we walk in.”

The exhibit was made possible through the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, grants for the arts, and the San Francisco Arts Commission.

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