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Mexican artist Karima Muyaes, whose works are exhibited along with those of other artists at the David A. Portlock Black Cultural Center, conducted a workshop, gave a talk, and attended a reception in her honor Thursday.

Part of Lafayette’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the events were open to the public. Her campus visit also included working with printmaking students and meeting with students.

The public events started at 9 a.m. with a monoprint workshop lasting until noon at the Experimental Printmaking Institute, 421 Hamilton Street. Muyaes gave a brown bag talk at 12:15 p.m. at the Black Cultural Center, 101 McCartney Street. Finally, she attended a reception at the center from 5-7 p.m. for its gallery exhibition “Artists of Mexico: Inspirations of the Past and Present.”

The exhibit began Sept. 20 and will run through Friday, Nov. 12. Hailing from Mexico City and the Oaxaca region, other featured artists are Juan Alczar, Francisco Lopez Monterrosa, and Rodolfo Morales.

The works capture the artists’ ethnic identity and a unique style that links their pre-Colombian past with European influences. A connection to ancient Mexico’s narrative tradition can be seen. For example, Muyaes uses authentic ancient masks from ceremonies as inspiration for her distinct, contemporary work. Alczar is a master painter, printmaker, and director of the Taller de Artes Plasticas Rufino Tamayo in the city of Oaxaca, a respected training center for many artists. His work incorporates the concept of negal — the belief that every human has an animal aspect. Stories of animals and humans dominate his images.

The exhibit was organized by the Experimental Printmaking Institute (EPI). Established in 1996, the EPI’s mission is to provide an environment in which professional artists and students create work and investigate new and experimental approaches to the print medium. EPI offers a student-centered program that has given students direct encounters with over 50 established artists from diverse backgrounds. These guest visits have resulted in the publication of dozens of print editions, experimental works, and artists’ books.

The Portlock Black Cultural Center Gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. For more information, call x5819.

Born in Mexico City in 1960, Muyaes studied fine arts at the University of the Americas in Mexico City and at the Toronto School of Art. She studied etching and lithography at Open Studio, Toronto; design and drawing at George Brown College, Toronto; and serigraphy at the School of Design, Mexico City. Muyaes draws on her earliest memories of being surrounded by mythical masks and primitive influences. Using a contemporary application, the artist transfers her impressions of the cycle of life to canvas, using bold colors that have a language of their own. Her work is described as a “spiritual walk filled with sensual and audacious images, forms, and textures.”

“I believe that my creative process has evolved parallel to my own growth as a woman,” she said in an interview with the director of Galeria La Mano Magica. “Yet the essence of the process has always been to express any feeling that moves me enough to want to create a visual form, without regard to classical norms or routes marked by others. In my artwork, I feel a liberation of my being that is almost unconscious, in which there is no room for any kind of external limitation or restriction, except possibly those that I self-impose.”

Muyaes has been featured in many individual exhibitions in Mexico City, Oaxcaca, and Tijuana since 1987. Her work has been in several solo or group exhibitions at Lafayette, including a 2001 show at the Williams Center for the Arts, one in 2000 at Skillman Library, and another in 1999 at the Experimental Printmaking Institute. Her work has been included in over 40 collective exhibitions at the University of the Americas, the Picasso Gallery, the American School, the National Printmaking Museum, the Azcapotzalco Cultural Center, and other Mexico City galleries; the Museum of Art, Santiago, Chile; Zitlala Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; and York University, the Toronto School of Art, and the NAFAA Gallery, Toronto. She won first place in the 1982 Etching Competition at the Toronto School of Art, and honorary mention in Modern Interpretations of Don Quijote at the National Printmaking Museum in Mexico City.

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