• May 24th, 2024
  • Friday, 11:53:50 PM

NHCC Guest-Curated Art Exhibition Examines Influence of Artworks By Incarcerated Artists

A graphic promoting Paño Connections at the National Hispanic Cultural Center I son exhibit through August 18. (Photo: Katie Rooke/ Courtesy of the NHCC)



The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) highlights a new guest-curated art exhibition that builds upon the work of its celebrated paño exhibition through exploration of the artistic traditions inspired by the artistic movement. Paño Connections-Corazon-Knows-No-Bounds, guest curated by Eric “Christo” Martínez, at the NHCC Visual Art Museum through August 18.


“We are incredibly honored to be working with Christo as an artist and the guest curator for this exhibition and the experience has been so meaningful as we learned about the stories behind each of the artworks,” said NHCC Head Curator and Visual Arts Program Manager Jadira Gurulé. “What emerges is a complex reflection of the familial and community bonds that persist through artistic expression in the face of great challenge and separation. The exhibition continues an engagement with the topic of art and incarceration in the museum and builds upon the legacy and influence of these artists.”


Martínez is a New México artist who learned to paint during his time in prison. The exhibition explores artworks inspired by paños (drawings on handkerchiefs) and other artworks created by incarcerated artists. This is the second iteration of this exhibit, and Martínez’s goal is to expand connections among those who are passionate about this body of work.

Into the Hourglass: Paño Arte from the Rudy Padilla Collection, showcases over 100 paños or pañuelos. (Photo: Addison Dote / Courtesy of the NHCC)

Paño Connections is more than an exhibit, just like prison art is more than art,” Martínez said. “It is real lives that express they are more than a number and statistic. It is parents, children, loved ones, and a growing movement to connect artists, communities, and organizations to take a new look and gather hard data from the success stories of what is possible through the arts and rehabilitation.”


Additionally, Paño Connections builds on work started by NHCC’s acclaimed exhibition in Into the Hourglass: Paño Arte from the Rudy Padilla Collection, which showcases over 100 paños or pañuelos amassed by the late collector and community advocate, Rudy Padilla. Into the Hourglass, which runs through April 14 at the NHCC before travelling to other locations, celebrates paños as an art form and the contributions of incarcerated artists to the broader fields of Chicano and American art.


Paño Connections, in turn, advances this work by highlighting artwork inspired by the paño movement and other art forms  by incarcerated artists. This collaboration with Martínez builds upon the dialogue that honors the longstanding and ever-evolving artistic traditions born inside and expanding beyond the United States prison system.


The exhibition is on view in the NHCC Community Gallery, which is dedicated to showcasing art by New Mexican artists. The exhibition is on view until August 18 and is generously supported by the McCune Foundation.