¡Viva Viclas! opens at CAM

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photography by Gus Samarco

CAM Raleigh will be celebrating a new art form starting October 4—the souped-up motorcycle. ¡Viva Viclas! The Art of the LowRider Motorcycle explores the concept behind the Chicano-focused community on the West Coast.

The exhibition, anchored by 10 intricately decorated motorcycles, is guest-curated by lowrider scholar Denise Sandoval, a professor of Chicano studies at Cal State Northridge. Sandoval says that she’s very excited to showcase this burgeoning community in Raleigh, which has a growing Latino population. “There are lots of negative stereotypes within this community, and what people miss is the other side. I think that we need more exhibits that allow people to reflect on the beauty of cultures in the United States.” Sandoval also says that the lowrider community, through both cars and motorcycles, are how many people express what it means to be Mexican-American in the U.S.

In addition to the motorcyles on display, the exhibition features eight artists, six of whom are from Los Angeles. There’s everything from oil paintings to photography and even piñata art, says CAM’s Exhibitions Director Eric Gaard. Gaard is originally from Southern California, and he says he was ecstatic to bring the art of this community to N.C. “With the Hispanic community evolving here, I thought it could be interesting. We can make people aware of this community on the East Coast because it’s not prevalent here.”

Everything in the exhibit will be bilingual in English and Spanish, and CAM will feature special programming with a focus on the Triangle’s Hispanic community. “This is just a small slice of the culture,” says Sandoval. “By learning about this subculture, visitors will also learn about the people.” —Catherine Currin