Global Justice Conference: Art as Catalyst Exhibition

Evo Morales, President of Boliva and La Rielera

Fidel Castro and La Rielera, Cuban Revolution (1959) by Carolina de la Cajiga

By Susan Goldman

San Miguel’s Center for Global Justice will be hosting a Moving Beyond Capitalism conference at the Hotel Misión El Molino from Tuesday, July 29, through Monday, August 4. A highlight of this year’s conference will be an “Art as Catalyst” exhibition, featuring 60 works of art by 11 artists from Mexico, Canada and the United States.

Art exhibit
“Art as Catalyst” Exhibition
The Center for Global Justice’s
Moving Beyond Capitalism Conference
Open to the public
Tue, Jul 29, 5-7pm
Wed, Jul 30-Mon, Aug 4, 12-1:30pm
Sat, Aug 2, 9am-5pm
Hotel Misión El Molino
Salida a Querétaro 1

Believing in the power of art to serve as a clarion call for change, this exhibition is meant to be an inspiring force for discussion of alternative systems for enabling a peaceful and just world. As Marxian playwright Bertolt Brecht declared: “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Among the 11 featured artists wielding “the hammer” for social and economic justice are: Carolina de la Cajiga, renowned artist/photographer; Sallie Latch, painter and longtime member of the Center for Global Justice; and Lena Bartula, painter and activist.

According to Vancouver-based artist and photographer Carolina de la Cajiga’s website, “Her approach to art is a balance between reality and imagination. . . .” Referring to herself an illusionist and a re-interpreter rather than a painter, she reminds us that “What you see is not what is.” Ten of her famous La Rielera photographs will be part of this exhibition.

La Rielera is the name that the artist gave to the soldadera with the haunting and haunted eyes whom she digitally removed from a 1910-era photograph of soldaderas—the women who supported either the federal or rebel armies during the Mexican Revolution. She then inserted La Rielera’s image into photographs of historical events of the last 100 years, making her a silent witness to a changing world and providing the viewers with an opportunity to reconsider history and to continue the conversation about the need for global justice.

Sallie Latch will show 20 of her paintings in the exhibition. She describes herself as a “self-taught artist” who sat at her mother’s knee, learning to draw little houses, flowers and people. As she matured and traveled the world, she witnessed the problems in San Francisco during the revolutionary ‘60s; read about the horrors of the Vietnam War; participated in Chavez’s farm worker strikes; and marched in civil rights protests. Because of these experiences, she acknowledges, “The many injustices heaped upon the most vulnerable etched deeply into my psyche—and my art. When we move beyond capitalism I hope to go back to painting pretty little houses, flowers, and people at peace.”

Lena Bartula is currently exhibiting her huipiles contemporáneos at the Museo Ixchel in Guatemala and has generously shared five of them for this exhibition. Deeply influenced by the huipil, an indigenous blouse in the Mayan and Aztec traditions, Bartula is a firm believer that art has the power to transform, to heal and to manifest a better world. She uses contemporary huipiles as a metaphor to illuminate the stories of women who have been silenced politically, emotionally or physically. Each huipil is the story of “woman”—human, myth, nature element or the collective feminine.

Please join the Center for Global Justice members, international thinkers and activists to view the artwork and expand the conversation.

For the days and hours this exhibition is open to the public, see the box on this page or log on to


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