Artist collective Xingaderas leads conversations about identity at SDSU

Xingaderas will lead an interactive workshop for students and present an artist talk as part of the Arts Alive SDSU Discovery Series

Friday, February 16, 2024
Artist Collective Xingaderas wearing papier-mâché masks similar to those that will be constructed in their SDSU workshop.
Artist Collective Xingaderas wearing papier-mâché masks similar to those that will be constructed in their SDSU workshop.

The artist collective Xingaderas will be at SDSU leading critical conversations about its use of papier-mâché art as a medium to express individual layers of identity. 

Papier-mâché artist Manuel Urueta and photographer/filmmaker Celina Galicia of Xingaderas will first lead a three-day student workshop, from Monday, Feb. 19 to Friday, Feb. 23. Then, with the support of One SDSU Community and the Arts Alive SDSU Discovery Series, they will present an artist talk and panel conversation discussing their work, which often focuses on themes of transformation, empathy and magic. 

In its art, Xingaderas explores border identities by constructing wearable masks from papier-mâché and objects from the international border. Both identifying as transfronterinxs — people who live on or frequently cross the U.S.-Mexico border, in this case, El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico — Urueta and Galicia pull inspiration from regional folklore to question and understand the border and those who coexist in the borderlands. 

Associate professor Kerianne Quick from the SDSU School of Art and Design originally proposed that Xingaderas visit SDSU as guest artists with support from the Student Success Fee, which in part provides a course or academic program that extends the formal learning experience.  

Having redeveloped and served as a curatorial consultant for a traveling cross-border exhibition that includes art by Xingaderas, Quick believed that its art would be well-received by SDSU students and would encourage them to view art off campus as well.

“This project connects our SDSU students with a prominent cultural institution like the Mingei [International Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park],” said Quick. “It is where our field shows its professional outcome, where students see a possible career trajectory for their degree.”

The exhibition at the Mingei is titled La Frontera and is now open. A concurrent exhibition is opening at CECUT in Tijuana on Friday, Feb. 16. 

Xingaderas Workshops at SDSU

Over three days, Xingaderas is leading 20 SDSU students in a mask-making workshop that explores themes of self and layers of identity. Students will learn to construct their unique papier-mâché masks based on inspiration from their own experiences.  

“We have so many students who cross the border, are from the border region or are impacted by border issues,” says Quick, “We wanted it to feel representative and inclusive of the students’ experience.”

At the end of the workshop, all student work will be presented in an on-campus exhibition that will be open to the public. The exhibition, intended to be a celebration of the collaboration, will also display a collection of work by Xingaderas. 

“I felt strongly that Xingaderas would be a good fit because their art incorporates and expresses the body with an object, which is in jewelry, performance art, theater. There is so much crossover,” said Quick.

The workshop is open to all students, and no previous experience in any art form is required. 

Constructing Borderlands Personalities: Xingaderas Panel at SDSU

Informed by the students’ work in the workshops, Xingaderas will present an Artist Talk on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. at Scripps Cottage. Immediately following the talk, an interdisciplinary panel of artists and scholars will join the conversation.

The panelists include Xingaderas, as well as Shelley Orr, associate professor in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film, and Carlos Figueroa Beltran, lecturer in the Department of Latin American Studies.

The panel, which is also supported by One SDSU Community, will explore art’s role in expressing binational cultural, political and gendered identities. It will also include a discussion about creative performances and photography.

The artist talk and panel conversation is a free event and is open to the public. No pre-registration is required, but students are encouraged to arrive early to check in at the registration desk. 

“Thinking through ways that we represent ourselves symbolically can be really generative creatively,” said Quick. “We want to help students to be inspired to explore and tell their stories through symbols.” 

If you go

La Frontera
Faculty who wish to visit the Mingei with their class for this exhibition may contact Quick, as the Mingei is offering free entry to students whose faculty RSVP on their behalf.

Xingaderas Workshops
Students wishing to participate may sign up online, and any questions regarding registration for the workshops can be directed to Quick

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