Amigas Latinas Forever, an art exhibit exploring this important Chicago organization (1995-2015), opened Aug. 11 at the Chicago Art Department, 1932 S. Halsted St. An additional exhibit, En El Abismo, Me Encontre by the Gage Park Latinx Council, a queer, DACA, Latinx-led grassroots organization, accompanied the Amigas Latina exhibit.
Guest DJs TRQPiTECA kept the room grooving as people of all ages enjoyed the art and history. Amigas Latinas founders Evette Cardona and Mona Noriega were there, along with many other Amigas legends.
Since 2020, Jose Luis Benavides and Amanda Cervantes have investigated the Amigas Latinas archive held at the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, 6500 N. Clark St. Amigas Latinas was a Chicagoland Latina lesbian, bisexual, trans, and questioning support, education, and advocacy organization that offered many events and services over its 20-year existence.
The show featured dozens of fliers, photos, t-shirts and other Amigas Latinas memorabilia.
With generous support from a 3Arts' Ignite Fund grant, Luis and Amanda present original artworks responding to the archive. The Aug. 11 event featured invited guests Marimacha Monarca Press as well as a special video screening of Palabras Dulces Palabras Amargas, featuring a discussion with directors Linda Garcia Merchant and Maritza Nazario.
Several Zoom "pláticas" or discussion-based events are scheduled in the weeks ahead as well, including a Zoom-recorded storytelling event for Amigas and Amiguitas to share their memories hosted by former Amiguitas organizer Daisy Zamora Wed., Aug, 30 from 7-8 p.m.Registration for the Zoom link is at https://cccedu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMlcO2uqj8qG9M3TmtVPvxRbrMa-SsE1keE#/registration.
The Gage Park Latinx Council founders are Samantha Martinez, Katia Martinez, and Antonio Santos. They were also at the event along with many of the artists from their show. The exhibit materials include this description: "We live in uncertain times and there is much talk about the future and how the future will look, but the reality is Queer people have always had to create worlds within and outside of mainstream society. And through this collective survival and dreaming, that is often forced underground, we have shaped culture. Expanding notions of what life is through dreaming, magic, and creating spaces for joy, love, life, and grief within environments under constant attack and negligencea juxtaposition of radical queer existence within a void. This exhibition features artworks from multidisciplinary QTBIPOC artists from Chicago that explore themes of life, dreams, and magic."
For information on Chicago Art Department, see chicagoartdepartment.org . Gage Park Latinx Council can be reached at 708-872-8798.