August 14, 2007

Latino Heritage Month Focuses on ‘One Face, Many Voices’

Lectures, discussions, and films bring out the complexity of Latino identities

This year’s Latino Heritage Month (LHM) theme, “Latino Identities: One Face, Many Voices,” will offer an array of events and speakers that shed light on the varied experiences, rich expressive cultures, and the political and artistic influence of Latinos in the Americas.

Events throughout September and October celebrate Latino culture and challenge us to understand the relationship between the struggle of individuals to define themselves, the communal and individual creative impulse, and the fight for larger issues of social justice.

As part of the celebration, the David A. Portlock Black Cultural Center will host an exhibit featuring the art of Jose A. Balcells. The work of this Chilean artist transgresses the boundaries of various artistic realms in order to evoke the convolution of human experience and of man’s inextricable connection to the natural world. Poetry plays a central role in Balcells’ artistic process as evident in his most recent project entitled The Poetic Dimensions of a Country. A selection of Balcells’ sculptures and watercolors illustrating this creative process will be exhibited in the Cultural Center from Wednesday, Sept. 12 through Nov. 2. A reception for this exhibit and lecture by Balcells will be held 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30.

A major event will be a lecture by former President of El Salvador Francisco Flores Monday, 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Williams Center for the Arts. Flores is a prominent voice for a new generation of political leaders in Central America. He will address challenges and solutions facing developing nations, including the impact of U.S. immigration reforms on Latin America. President of El Salvador from 1999-2004, he instituted fundamental changes that led to remarkable economic growth.

Presenting the keynote lecture will be Martin Espada, professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights 104. Espada, a native of Brooklyn, is an award-winning poet, essayist, and translator, and was a finalist this year for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his collection entitled The Republic of Poetry (2006). Espada’s poetry deals with issues of social justice in the U.S. and Latin America. His previous book, Alabanza: New and Selected Poems, 1982-2002 (2003), received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was named an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year. Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996) also won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Other events that will be taking place include a brown bag discussion consisting of students presenting their experiences regarding questions of identity, both at home and abroad; a Latin market celebrating cultura Latinoamericana, with music, food, and cultural displays; the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, directed by world-renowned pianist, arranger, and producer Oscar Hernandez; Noche de Cultura, a night featuring a variety of performances by students; and the HALA PA Cine Latino Film Festival.

For more information, contact the Office of Intercultural Development at x5819, the Portlock Black Cultural Center at x5698, or visit the web site.

Latino Heritage Month Schedule of Events:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 12 – Friday, Nov. 2. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the David A. Portlock Black Cultural Center. The Poetic Dimensions of a Country, works by Jose A. Balcells.
  • Saturday, Sept. 15. 3 – 4 p.m. in the Farinon Center Atrium. LHM Scavenger Hunt.
  • Monday, Sept. 17. 7 – 8:30 p.m. at the Williams Center for the Arts. Lecture by President Francisco Flores of El Salvador.
  • Thursday, Sept. 20. 12 – 1 p.m. at the Interfaith Chapel. Student led brown bag, “Standing Strong: Keeping Your Voice.”
  • Friday, Sept. 28. 5 �“ 7 p.m. in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights 104. LHM Keynote Lecture by Martin Espada. A reception and book signing to follow event.
  • Saturday, Sept. 29. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Gilbert’s Cafe- Back Room. A Dialogue and Brunch with Martin Espada.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 2. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Farinon Center Atrium. Latin Market.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 3. 8 p.m. at the William Center for the Arts. Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
  • Saturday, Oct. 13. 7 – 8:30 p.m. at the Farinon Center Atrium. “Noche de Cultura.”
  • Sunday, Oct. 21. 2 – 5 p.m. in the Farinon Limburg Theatre. HALA PA Cine Latino Film Festival 2007. Documentary Screenings include Young Rebels at 2 p.m. and at 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 30. 4- 5 p.m. at the David A. Portlock Cultural Center. Exhibit Artist-In-Residence reception and talk by Jose Balcells.

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