Vida y Arte is a Denver Art Museum podcast that brings the art of the Americas to the forefront and shows you why it matters now. Maria Trujillo, interpretive specialist at the museum, engages in conversations with local and national artists and other creatives to connect what it means to be Latino today with current events and with the museum’s Latin America art and ancient American art collections and related exhibitions. This podcast is produced by Postmodern Company in Denver, Colorado. Original music was created and played by Jared Katz, Adolfo Romero, and Nativo Studios.
The first two episodes, “Power of Muralism” and “Reclaiming Identity in Artistic Practice,” are inspired by the exhibition Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, on view through January 24, 2021.
Episode 1: "Power of Muralism"
Muralists Jwlç Mendoza (Denver, CO) and Jessica Sabogal (Oakland, CA) discuss the ongoing tradition of this art form, inspired largely by Diego Rivera in the early 20th century. They reveal how and why they started creating public art and how their art practices work to uplift their communities and amplify their voices.
Jwlç Mendoza is a Denver-based painter and a muralist that was born in El Paso, TX, and was raised in Ciudad Juárez until he was 11 years old. At the age of 11 years old Jwlç came to the United States and has lived in the Westwood area since then, where he has grown artistically thanks to the support of the community there. For Jwlç it is very important to incorporate his motherland roots into his art. Jwlç says “I am who I am because of my Mexican and Latino heritage, therefore incorporating these into my art makes it meaningful to me and I’m sure it’s meaningful to those that can relate as well. I feel it is a gift to get inspired by our own traditions, food, people, and colors, and it’s a blessing to be able to put all these into an art piece and inspire others.”
Jessica Sabogal is a first-generation Colombian-American muralist. Throughout the years, Sabogal has consistently reinvented what it means to be a female muralist in a male-dominated medium. She has continuously pushed the boundaries as an artist by utilizing her medium for social change, action and empowerment. Her murals have been commissioned by Facebook, Google, 20th Century Fox, the University of Southern California, CSU San Marcos, The University of Arizona, and The University of Utah among many others. In 2016, Sabogal received KQED’s Women to Watch Award and the following year was commissioned by the Amplifier Foundation for the 2017 Women’s March, after which her “Women Are Perfect” campaign gained international acclaim. Sabogal’s work has since been featured in national and international news and media sources including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and The New York Times.
Episode 2: "Reclaiming Identity in Artistic Practice"
Artists Danielle SeeWalker (Denver, CO) and Justin Favela (Las Vegas, NV) talk about how they integrate their complex cultural and personal identities into their art practices.
Danielle SeeWalker is Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta and an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota currently based in Denver, Colorado. She is an artist, writer, activist, boy-mom of two and a commissioner for the Denver American Indian Commission. Her visual artwork often incorporates the use of mixed media and experimentation while incorporating traditional Native American materials, scenes, and messaging. Her artwork pays homage to her identity as a Lakȟóta wíŋyaŋ (woman) and her passion to redirect the narrative to an accurate and insightful representation of contemporary Native America while still acknowledging historical events.
Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, and known for large-scale installations and sculptures that manifest his interactions with American pop culture and the Latinx experience, Justin Favela has exhibited his work both internationally and across the United States. His installations have been commissioned by museums including the Denver Art Museum and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas. He is the recipient of the 2018 Alan Turing LGTBIQ Award for International Artist. Favela hosts two culture-oriented podcasts, “Latinos Who Lunch” and “The Art People Podcast.” He holds a BFA in fine art from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.