Opening Soon: Visualizing Language Oaxaca in L.A.

This Saturday, September 16, the Los Angeles Public Library in a partnership with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles kicks-off a special project to take a closer look at the rich social fabric of our own city by focusing on the vibrant Oaxacan community in L.A. through the lens of indigenous Zapotec cultures. Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in L.A. showcases a new exhibition at the downtown Central Library along with a series of over 70 city-wide programs as part of the Getty’s PST: LA/LA initiative. Join us this Saturday between 12 and 5 for the opening of the exhibit which features new murals for Central Library by Oaxacan artist collective Tlacolulokos.

Coming Soon

The new murals—currently being installed in the Central Library’s 2nd floor Rotunda—place an indigenous narrative at the forefront of the story of contemporary Los Angeles by juxtaposing with the Library’s existing 1930s murals by Dean Cornwell.

By considering how language, history, and migration play a role in the lives of Oaxacans and Angelenos, Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in L.A. aims to examine the past, present, and future of a multicultural Los Angeles—a place that is far more diverse than has often been depicted. The new murals will be on display in the Rotunda until January 31, along with a short documentary by Oaxacan filmmaker Yolanda Cruz that follows the creation of this new work. Here’s a sneak peek at the project, also created by Cruz.

Audiences will also have the opportunity to participate in programming across the city this fall and winter on a range of topics, such as film screenings, hip hop workshops, lectures on Meso-American history, explorations of textiles and pre-Columbian cuisine, and more. Additionally, ALOUD will feature six multilingual programs including conversations with the artists, a look at Oaxaca’s third gender, and readings of indigenous poetry. Renowned artist and Oaxacan cultural activist Francisco “El Maestro” Toledo, through the Centro de las Artes San Agustín (CASA), has also made a generous donation of Zapotec and Spanish-language books and resources for program participants. Other program highlights include:

Exhibition Opening
Saturday, September 16, 12-5 PM Central Library’s Second Floor Rotunda
Performance from Grupo Folklórico Guish Bac, Banda Grandeza Oaxaqueña, a silk screening workshop with exhibition artists Tlacolulokos, special exhibition tours and refreshments.

Rebellion! Public Art and Political Dissent: Oaxaca in L.A.
Tuesday, September 19, 7:30PM
Inaugural ALOUD program featuring a conversation with the artist collective Tlacolulokos and artist Chaz Borjórquez on the power of public art from graffiti to the new murals in the Central Library’s Rotunda.  Exhibition curator Amanda de la Garza will moderate the conversation.

Oaxacan Food Lecture Series with Writer Bill Esparza
Through a series of talks at neighborhood libraries across the city, Bill Esparza, a James Beard award-winner and Los Angeles-based journalist, will discuss the history of Oaxacan food in Southern California, along with a survey of the current “Oaxacalifornia” scene.

Barbacoa Demonstration with Zapotec Chefs from Gish Bac Restaurant
Learn about (and taste!) this traditional-style of goat prepared by third-generation masters David Padilla and Maria Ramos.

Fabric Dyes of Oaxaca with Artist Ashley Thayer
Learn about natural dyeing methods of Oaxaca with artist Ashley Thayer, who has been inspired by traditional Oaxacan dyes such as indigo and pomegranate.

For detailed program and exhibition information, visit

Photo Credit: All top photos by Gary Leonard.


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