“Our America” Exhibit Explores Latinidad In A Climate Riddled With Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric


The Allentown Art Museum’s Summer exhibition “Our America” perfectly highlights the melting pot that is America. Through landscape, portraiture, graphics, photography and mixed media, a collaboration of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican artists share their interpretation of their experience in the land of the free.

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“Our America” is a collection of art from the 1950s until present day that unites Latinos as a whole. The traveling show was organized by the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum back in 2013, now making it’s way to the Allentown Art Museum this Summer. Elaine Mehalakes, the vice president for curatorial and education at the Allentown Art Museum discussed the exhibit with The Morning Call. “As we started re-evaluating our own American collection, this exhibition just fit right in,” she said. “It’s a little bit of everything.”

“I think that “Our America” is an important exhibition project because it brings all these great Latino artists together,” says Adal Maldonado, a Puerto Rican artist whose work is being showcased at the exhibit. “It’s a tremendous learning experience not only for the Latino community, but also for the non-Latino community, especially today when there is so much racial conflict that I personally feel is created by ignorance of not knowing each others accomplishments and what we’ve contributed to building this society.”

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The exhibition is divided into nine segments throughout the museum. The exhibits are “Reframing the Past and Present”, “Migrating through History”,”The Graphic Boom” , “Turning Point”, “Street Life”, “Everyday People”, “We Interrupt This Message”, “Defying Categories” and “Signs of the Popular.” Together the exhibits celebrate the rise of Latino art in America after their immigration in the mid-20th century, through their role in building present day America.


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“Our America” will be showing at the Allentown Art Museum from June 25 – Oct 2.