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The David A. Portlock Black Cultural Center is exhibiting Latin-American Vision: Graphic Works from Central Mexico featuring Mexican printmaker Rolando Rojas through Nov. 19. The exhibition, which opened Friday, also will include art by printmakers who have worked at Rojas’ Imagine Arts Gráficas studio.

Rojas will meet with the public at a reception for the exhibition 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11 at the center, 101 McCartney Street. He also will be available 10 a.m.-noon Thursday, Oct. 13 while working in Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Studio, 421 Hamilton Street.

In addition to other work with art students, Rojas will produce a large-format serigraph with the assistance of Curlee Raven Holton, professor and head of art and director of Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute, assistant printmaker Jase Clark, and EXCEL Scholars Sara Smith-Katz (Stroudsburg, Pa.) and Preeza Shrestha (Kathmandu, Nepal).

Rojas was a visiting artist in the art department in 1998, demonstrating his unique and traditional technique of direct application of pigment and sand to canvas. Since then, he has exhibited his work internationally and become a leader of a new generation of Oaxacan artists. He recently established a fine print atelier in Oaxaca and is producing works by some of Mexico’s most famous and prominent artists.

Holton met Rojas while visiting Oaxaca in 1996. This cultural exchange has continued over the years with visits by other Mexican artists, including Karima Muyaes and Juan Alcázar Mendez.

Rojas’ works are in the tradition of Oaxacan artists Rufino Tamayo, who pioneered a technique called Mixografia® to create colored and three-dimensional print on handmade paper, and Francisco Toledo, who continues to act as guardian of his native state’s arts and crafts. Rojas’ art often is characterized by a longing for the values of primeval life and a fear that civilization will eliminate every trace of nature. The fish, bulls, totems, sirens, and ghosts point to a mythical past that anthropomorphizes animals, vegetables, and minerals and considers them capable of ruling the world.

Born in Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, Rojas still lives in his native state. He has exhibited his paintings and prints in Mexico, Argentina, Italy, the United States, France, and Puerto Rico. He has worked and exhibited annually at la Galería Alberto Misrachi in Mexico City since 1996.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Portlock Black Cultural Center, the Office of Intercultural Development, and the Experimental Printmaking Institute as part of Latino Heritage Month. The Portlock Black Cultural Center Gallery is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, contact the Portlock Center at (610) 330-5819 or the Experimental Printmaking Institute at (610) 330-5592.

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