Americas & Latino & Festival

Americas Latino Festival

November 1, 2013 - February 11, 2014

The mission of the Americas Latino Festival is to promote environmental awareness and create a platform for dialogue and mobilization for a just society to ensure that everyone has access to a healthy environment. The artwork on exhibit in the BioLounge is part of this effort to bridge the gap between academia, K-12 education, arts, policy, business, and Latino and non-Latino communities; and to facilitate landscapes of sustainability and diversity of both peoples and ecosystems.
Artists working in varied media from Argentina, Mexico and Spain are featured. Students from local elementary, middle and high schools contributed their creativity and thoughts on migration and diversity through the creation of monarch butterfly collages and poetry. Illustrated books from many Latin American countries also provide insight into the connections of Latino cultures to the land and one another.
The Festival is an initiative of Americas for Conservation + Arts and is presented by Denver Arts & Venues and The University of Colorado Boulder.

Festival artists and exhibitions:
Soplo de Esperanza/Breath of Hope

This exhibition features the delicate work of Spanish artist Lorenzo Manuel Duran. Duran's intricate and detailed work is carved from a leaf with a scalpel to represent a variety of portraits and subjects. There are 24 leaves - 4 of which were specially done for the festival.

"Born in Cáceres, Spain, in 1969, I am a self-taught artist who realized at age 36 that I had left aside two true passions: art and nature. My awareness came one day in 2005, when unemployment appeared in my path and I began living an existential metamorphosis. This turned me into a man increasingly aware of his inside, his shadow, and who attempts to communicate with that through one of the tools he knows best: art.
Once I took this path I started with the classic oil on canvas, from which I never entirely separated. I was fortunate to attract the interest of the “Fundació de les Arts i els Artistes” (Barcelona), who purchased my work “Entre cielo y tierra” (Between sky and earth) for the collection of the “Museu d’Art Modern Europeu, MEAM” (European Museum of Modern Art).

Inspired by a caterpillar eating a leaf, I decided to cut plant leaves the same way as other artists do paper. This idea captivated my whole mind because it looked like a great opportunity to combine my two true passions: art and nature. Due to the lack of information about the “leaf cutting art” I developed my own technique, going through a long trial-and-error process until I found a good way of cutting my designs without spoiling the leaf. I use a surgical scalpel to cut the figure, removing the plant tissue until the image, previously drawn on paper and fixed to the leaf, appears.  My geometric or figurative designs mostly come from my innate observation of nature and the personal metamorphosis I have gone through in recent years."


Ingenious: Children's Books Illustrations. Pablo Bernasconi (Argentina)

flowerpot  dragon submarine

Pablo Bernasconi was born in Buenos Aires in August, 1973. He graduated from the Universidad de Buenos Aires as a graphic designer.  His work has been published in newspaper and magazines around the world.  He has written and illustrated eight children’s books and three books for adults. Bernasconi creates collages which forge meaningful connections between many different elements, elements that may appear meaningless on their own. He likes funny stories and stories that tell about the people who do courageous things.  He says he gets his ideas from everything he likes to do and see.  “I love humor, strange creatures, strange machines, planes, and animals, and my stories, so far, are always related to such things.” For Bernasconi, the designer’s ability to draw or paint is not important per se, such skills are merely tools that can be used to convey an idea. … illustrating children’s books is a way to encourage children to activate their imagination.

Pablo Bernasconi


Migrar/Migration. Javier Martínez and José Manuel Mateo

This exhibition features original illustrations by Javier Martínez from the book Migrar by José Manuel Mateo. Migrar is the story of a boy’s journey from Central Mexico to Los Angeles, which won the Bologna Children's Book Fair Award last year. The original art for this work was completed on amate paper, a form of paper that has been manufactured in Mexico since pre-Hispanic times. The exhibition includes additional works on amate paper.


Mares Mexicanos/Mexican Seas. Octavio Aburto (Mexico)

This exhibition features photos by Octavio Aburto, professional photographer associated at the International League of Conservation Photographers, a Research Scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), and the 2010 recipient of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Kathryn Fuller Science for Nature Fund Fellowship. Octavio has photographed marine ecosystems in Mexican coastal waters since 1994.

Mares Mexicanos (Mexican Seas) is an initiative that seeks to address this challenge, in an era where huge amounts of information are thrown out to the public each second. Mares Mexicanos will share stories of towns, people, explorers, scientists, and individuals that have devoted their life to protect Mexican oceans and species, and represent conservation leaders or heroes - video of Aburto’s conservation work at Cabo Pulmo.


Anáhuac Tawantinzuyu levanta el vuelo. Piloto Nieves from Mexico.

Artist's Statement:
"After thousands of years of being here in this continent, my roots still alive, even though 500 years ago they were slaughtered and forced to believe in new ways to erase our memory.  After all this time, the genocide continues through our traumatized mentality, discrimination, ignorance, a continued plundering of the land, and displacement of our people.  Cutting the continent in two to make a canal, to negotiate and sell our venerable Mother Earth.  This piece talks about going back to our roots to survive, to unify the continent, to unify the Earth, so the eagle and the condor can fly free and proud of their roots.  I like to show the connection of the Earth with all living things, to show that we are part of a big organism. When we hurt somebody, something, or the Earth, we hurt ourselves.  I want to show that even though there is evil in this world, we are good, we have just forgotten about BEING humans.  We can teach our new generations to respect everything that surrounds us, to listen and observe to be able to learn, to give before taking, but above all to be RESPONSIBLE for our actions.  If everybody could learn these basic things I am sure the word INJUSTICE could be erased."


La Monarca/The Monarch Butterfly. BVSD students. Collages and poetry created by BVSD students.

This exhibition features monarch butterfly collages and poetry created by Boulder Valley School District students. Students were invited to "let your imagination fly" to encourage exploration of the migrations of species on our planet and how they are affected by climatic and human impact on the environment. This festival component is dedicated to promoting literacy, creative expression and environmental awareness.


Migrar en Palabras/Word Travels: Book Fair Exhibit. Over 50 Spanish-language children's books covering topics of natural history, migration, and values.