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Tampa Tribune

Tampa Museum Of Art Will Feature Hispanic Works


July 17, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. 

El Museo del Barrio is in New York City, but its reputation extends far beyond Fifth Avenue.

In 1969, a group of Puerto Rican educators, artists and community activists there got together to create a museum reflecting the richness of their culture, from pre-Columbian to the present.

The result is a museum with a collection of more than 8,000 objects of Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latin American art.

One hundred of those works are coming to the Tampa Museum of Art in an exhibit opening Sunday called "Voces y Visiones: Highlights from El Museo Del Barrio's Permanent Collection."

A variety of media is presented from cultural periods in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Haiti and the United States.

"Voces" refers to the sound domes, a new medium for engaging viewers in the exhibition and a first for the Tampa museum.

The domes will play one- to two-minute audio clips featuring artists and historians talking about objects in the exhibit.

"It's like standing under a huge umbrella," public information officer Lani Czyzewski said. "The listener can get immersed in the spoken word, but people outside the umbrella can't hear it."

The exhibition has four themes: The Tainos and their legacy; Popular Traditions; Graphics; and Modern and Contemporary Arts.

The Taino Indians lived in Puerto Rico from about 1200 to 1500 A.D. Like the Incas and the Aztecs, their demise is related to diseases, torture and other misfortunes visited upon them by European conquerors. But their art survives and has begun to receive the kind of attention devoted to other ancient civilizations.

The Tampa show provides a glimpse into the Tainos' rich cultural heritage in archaeological objects such as sculptures, ceramics and tools, along with dance music, fine art and poetry.

In Popular Traditions, objects used to celebrate holidays dating back to pre-Columbian times are presented. They include textiles, ceramics, photography, sculptures, and more, some created by folk artists.

In the Graphics section, contemporary Latin American artists use lithographs, linoleum block prints, wood engravings, silk screens and photo silk screens to represent everything from revolutions to pastoral landscapes.

In the category of Modern and Contemporary Arts, cutting edge art is presented, including abstract, hard-edge geometric works, pop art and mixed media pieces with found objects.

"It's going to be a very colorful exhibition," Czyzewski said.

A gallery guide, maps and other materials will enhance the exhibit, which runs through Oct. 19.

A family fun day is planned for Sept. 14, where guests can enjoy hands-on art, music and food that highlights the Hispanic heritage of the exhibit.

Call (813) 274-8130 for information.

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