A few words before we start...
This is a podcast about Mexico, and its art and its history. If you give it a chance, it's going to take you places you didn’t expect. It will change you. It is going to make you to question the history we’ve been taught about ourselves as Americans. And it’s going to challenge the history you think you may know about Mexico – if you know anything about Mexico’s history already.
Ross Chambless: So let me begin by saying that this is a podcast about Mexico and its art and its history, but I don’t know a lot about Mexico. At least I didn’t when we started this project. That doesn’t mean that you should stop listening now, because this podcast is going to take you somewhere that you didn’t expect. It will change you. It has certainly changed me. This is going to cause you to question the history that we have all been taught about ourselves as Americans and it’s going to challenge the history that you think you may know about Mexico if you know anything about Mexico’s history because I really didn’t. And I should tell you that my name is Ross Chambless and in this podcast “Nuevas Voces” or “New Voices” we are going to re-examine this history by talking about a few famous works of art, art that was either found or lost, or art that reveals truths and stories, not just about Mexico, but also about America. This podcast series is sponsored by the non-profit Artes de México en Utah, and you’ll be hearing from different voices and perspectives from various people from Mexican descent to learn how they understand Mexican history and its relevance to our current period. You’ll hear from Mexican nationals, Chicanos, Mexican-Americans, Mexican immigrants to the U.S., Dreamers, and white Americans with experience with Mexico.
Susan Vogel is co-founder of Artes De Mexico En Utah; Fanny Blauer is an immigrant, mother, and American citizen; Luis Lopez is a second generation Chicano and scholar of Latin American and Chicano studies; Ross Chambless is the Producer.
Susan Vogel: My name is Susan Vogel and I'm the co-founder of Artes de México en Utah, so I started it with a group of artists, designers, scholars, and the cultural liaison from the Mexican Consulate in 2010, as a way of bringing the community together, during a difficult political time and we saw that the power of art to bring our whole communities together in celebration and in a positive way and then learn from each other.
Fanny Blauer: My name is Fanny Guadalupe Blauer, I came to this country 21 years ago. I met my husband in Mexico. I was always interested in learning more about how the Hispanic Latin community evolved in the U.S., because as an immigrant when I lived in Mexico, I never knew about this things, so coming to the U.S. was a completely new experience for me. I've been always attracted to the idea that with true conversations we can create awareness and tolerance.
Luis Lopez: My name is Luis Alberto López, I'm originally from Santa Anna, California and my parents are from Mexico. My connection to this project probably starts during my time at the University of Utah, during my undergraduate program, I did Latin American Studies and Chicano Studies, and during that time I was brought up to Artes as Programs Coordinator and that's how I got involved in all that. Since then I went back to Los Angeles for a little bit and recently returned, and got invited to participate in. So I've always had very active parents at home who would always give me this kind of counter-narratives to what I was learning at school and so that's why I think this kind of projects are super important and I'm excited to be part of it.
Ross. So, why are we doing this? Because this is our opening episode I thought this was an important question.
Susan: This grew out of a series of classes an experiences that we've had with Artes de México en Utah and from the very beginning, what we saw is that art is a really great springboard for conversation, so we are not an art organization in the sense of just putting up exhibits, we do that, but we want to use the exhibits and use art as a way of having people start interacting and having discussions and learning more about each other. So, for us, the important thing is using art because is so exciting and fascinating, to bring people together, we want to bring people from all different aspects of the community together, ages, ethnicities, races, and socioeconomic groups, to look at the art and talk about the art and learn about each other; and one of the most exciting things I've seen is when we hear different perspectives and when people change their points of view through hearing different perspectives.
Fanny: So, for me, why are we doing this? I believe that our society, our world is continuously evolving and changing, and embracing those cultural changes and our heritage and making everybody aware of who we are, where we come from, is very important to understand where we are going or where we are. Ethnically, the U.S. is a melting pot. The Hispanic population, the Spanish speaking population is growing and we know that we have a population of immigrants, but those immigrants are already having children or have had children here in the U.S., for which their language is English, at home the mother language might be Spanish, but really what they learn everywhere else is English. So, I would say that in many ways, those people are more comfortable listening things in English. They might still have Spanish in their minds, but it's a matter of how they learn things. At least that's how I see it with my children. My children are both bilingual, and I can say something in Spanish, they would understand, but if I repeat that in English for them it might be easier for them to understand it. But then it's also the feeling, the way you communicate this subject. So I think it's important to consider that we embrace not only culture, but language, and the way we tell those stories is very powerful.
Luis: My reason for participating in this, is to kind of give that Mexican-American- Chicano perspective, right. I'm an offspring of migrants that came to this country. My native language was English and Spanish at the same time, and I also went through a journey of reclaiming my indigeneity, I've actually studied Nahuatl during my undergraduate program, so I kind of trans our bounces, this part that we call "nepantla", the Nahuatl word for the in-between, and most of my life I've had to live in this in-between, and identifying as Chicano, I kind of accept this duality, that I have to learn to maneuver whether being in Mexico or in the States or arguably what once was, right, all these different spaces. So, this is really an opportunity for me to kind of represent the Mexican-Americans and Chicanos and kind of give our perspective.
Ross: Through these conversations, we use art as a platform for examining the stories that we've been told about Mexico's past and of course, what it all means for us today in the United States. And let me say a couple of last things. I don't speak Spanish, much at all, and if you're listening to this, the chances are neither do you, and that shouldn't matter. Also, as a white American growing up in Utah, in the Western United States, I never learned much about Mexico or its history, I never associated anything about this place, Utah, with Mexico; even though, as I've come to understand, this place was Mexico and in many ways it still is Mexico, but we'll get to that. So let's begin by going back.
We welcome constructive dialogue and questions. We invite you join us on this journey of discovery and critical thinking.