Long Beach, CA
The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is proud to host a solo exhibition of new and recent works by Luis Tapia, a pioneering Chicano artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico. For forty-five years, Tapia has taken the art of polychrome wood sculpture to new levels of craftsmanship while utilizing it as a medium for social and political commentary.
At once an artist and activist, Tapia’s innovative sculptures speak to the vibrancy and complexity of a multilayered Latino/Hispano/Chicano history and contemporary culture. While rooted in a folk art tradition established in seventeenth-century New Mexico, Tapia’s work both honors and transcends its origins, re-interpreting traditional subject matter and revitalizing age-old techniques to reflect his modern Chicano experience. Setting his subjects in innovative, brightly painted spatial and conceptual environments, Tapia eloquently expresses the urgent political or religious issues of the day, depicting the joy and humor of daily life, in soulful, profound, provocative ways. His sculptures compel viewers of all backgrounds to search their own hearts about the issues he conveys, while offering certain shared truths that present the Chicano, Nuevomexicano, and Latino experience as largely one and the same.
I see my work as an extension of the Hispano folk art tradition that was established in New Mexico in the 17th century and has continued to develop here during the past 400 years. My approach is to bring that tradition up-to-date so that it reflects and comments upon the religious, political and social issues that are important in today’s world. - Luis Tapia
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.