"De Donde Vengo"
From the time of the Mexican Revolution in the 1910s, North Americans have become increasingly aware of the artistic contributions of Latin and South Americans. The Mexican Muralists -- Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros most prominent among them -- were among the first Latin Americans to assimilate and adapt modern European art to suit their own cultural visions. This international exchange of ideas accompanied by a resurgence of interest in pre-Columbian South American cultures runs throughout Latin American art from 1910 to the present day.
From the earliest politically and socially concerned muralists, through modernist abstractionists, Surrealist visionaries, Op and Pop art followers, neo-expressionist painters, to artists of the 1980s and 1990s, Latin and South Americans have searched for their own identities in the art worlds of their native countries, the United States, and Europe (notably Spain and France). Hence De donde vengo -- "Where I come from," or conversely ''Where I go," describes the dual cultural nature that is the triumph of Latin American art.
Most of the works of art in this exhibition are drawn from the Museum's Nancy Sayles Day Collection of Modern Latin American Art. In the mid-1960s, Mrs. Day's family began funding Museum acquisitions of Latin-American art as a memorial to her work here as a docent and her lifelong interest in the fine arts. The collection continues to grow. The most recent acquisition is The Spirit of the Colony by Arnaldo Roche-Rabell, purchased in 1994. Several important paintings in these galleries are gifts from other Museum supporters who have recognized the international significance of the LatinAmerican collection at RISD.