In October 2007, Mexican artist and social activist Alejandro González Aranda visited Augsburg College. Aranda’s visit came at the end of an exhibition of his linocuts in the Christensen Center Art Gallery that was part of that year’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Center for Global Education at Augsburg College.
During his visit to Minneapolis, Aranda hosted a printmaking workshop where Augsburg students learned his techniques and shared their own works. While here, he got to view the works created in Augsburg’s fall printmaking class, taught by Instructor Lynn Bollman. Aranda was so thrilled by the Auggie prints that he asked for copies of all them and hosted an exhibition of the work on May 16, 2008 at the CGE site in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
To accompany the works of the student artists, Aranda exhibited one of his own prints, titled “Sketches of an Era.” Next to this print, he had the following statement (originally in Spanish):
I dare to say that artists can no longer remain indifferent to and isolated from their surroundings — self-absorbed in completely individualistic creations. Social inequality has made artists create in a more analytical, reflective and critical way.
Art is no longer just aesthetic enjoyment for a few. Printmaking brings it into the public sphere. In the history of humanity, printmaking has addressed social issues. It is a mirror in which society can see its defects and virtues. And today more than ever, it contributes to society’s struggles, hopes and dreams. It is inspired by society’s daily-ness, by its constant journey toward justice, democracy and dignity.
These works by young artists from Augsburg College hit the mark. They bring us a true view of Mexico that many of our politicians don’t want to see: the problems of immigration, economics, and environment.
Aranda is a frequent lecturer to students in the CGE program in Mexico, where he addresses the topic of art in the quest for social justice. For over two decades, he has created and exhibited paintings, murals, and prints that speak to the inequalities and injustices of Mexican society.
For more details about his October 2007 art exhibition at Augsburg, please visit www.augsburg.edu/galleries