‘Sharing Memories: The Mirror’ exhibit opens community to Latino culture


Hannah Auten

The Independent Media Center in Urbana is hosting the Sharing Memories: The Mirror art exhibit. Highlighting the struggle of immigration within the Latino community,the exhibit will run through April 16.

By Marissa Plescia, Staff writer

Patricia Leon and her husband Luis Gonzalo Pinilla are an artistic duo who originate from Colombia. Leon, a photographer, and Pinilla, a print artist, moved to Urbana about two years ago so Pinilla could pursue a doctorate at the University in art history and Latin American modern and contemporary art.

The husband and wife duo will be showcasing their artwork in an exhibit titled “Sharing Memories: The Mirror” at the Independent Media Center in Urbana through April 16.

The art exhibit aims to provide the Latino community with a space to develop a personal style using of photography and graphic arts media.

Pinilla said he feels that there are many more resources to display his artwork in the United States than he did in Colombia.

“There’s more activity that we can rely on,” Pinilla said.

Leon came up with the name of exhibit. She wanted the name of the exhibit to be something that everyone can relate to memories. She said memories are something people can share and can reflect on, like a mirror.

“You can reflect and you can see yourself. You can change things or you can improve yourself,” Leon said.

The goal of the exhibit is to show the lives of the Latino community in the Champaign-Urbana area.

It is a difficult time for immigrants, Pinilla said. The two want to show who these immigrants really are and provide them with a space to share their work.

The exhibit was created by a series of workshops that started in September and continued all the way until April. Several individuals in the Latino community also participated in these workshops.

“I’m very grateful to work with the community,” Leon said.“And to be part of the University.”

The event also has several sponsors, including the School of Art and Design. Other sponsors include the Urbana Public Arts Program, Taller Cinco Centro de Diseño, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Independent Media Center.

“IMC is focused on bringing in marginalized populations,”  said Brian Dolinar, program director at IMC. “We are concerned about immigration issues, so naturally when we had the option and opportunity to host a Latino art exhibit, we were happy to.”

Dolinar said the “Sharing Memories: The Mirror” exhibit brings increased awareness to the Latino community that lives in the Champaign-Urbana area.

“What I think is unique is that they include the faces of people who live amongst us, and families who are part of our community,” Dolinar said.

Dolinar also said immigrants in small towns and mid-size cities within the Midwest aren’t given as much recognition in comparison to places like California or Texas. This exhibit increases their visibility in Champaign-Urbana and the greater Midwest.

As for students at the University, Dolinar thinks it is important for them to come to the exhibit and immerse themselves in the community outside of campus-life.

Pinilla and Leon also believe it is important for students to attend the exhibit. It allows students to see the histories and memories of the people shown in this exhibit.

“Students need to get out in the community and understand what goes on outside of the campus bubble,” Dolinar said. “The best education they can have for when they graduate is out here in the community.”

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