In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, we held an Instagram Live conversation with artist and curator Frida Cano. Cano is the Curator and Artist Residency Coordinator at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA. She is the creator of the transdisciplinary research-based art project entitled "Arttextum, Tejido de agentes culturales inspirados en Latinoamérica," in collaboration with Promoción del Arte, Ministry of Culture, Madrid, that maps the intangible territory of our time through the metaphorical algorithms among cultural producers.
During her chat with us, Cano talked about the important of supporting artisans and knowing the background information of design items or artworks you buy for your home. Most importantly, it's good to keep in mind that these items will naturally be at a higher price (since they are not mass produced) and these makers don't often have the usual avenues for marketing their work. Artisan work, Cano says, is the "second largest source of employment for people living in poverty."
As for continuing to support Black and Brown creators — all year round — Cano recommends that design and art lovers "maintain a personal relationship, travel whenever possible, use social media," and tell everyone about their favorites.
Here are just some of the creatives and brands that Cano suggested we check out. Watch the full IG Live for more!
Cano mentioned the importance of Lolkina because it shows an equal partnership between an artist and an artisan — Marisol and Maria Felix. The company creates ethical fashion, from shoes to hats to tote bags.
A certified B corporation, Someone Somewhere operates on the ethos of "Buen Vivir," or "Good Living," which is all about existing "in harmony with the community, family, nature, and the cosmos," as stated on its website. The company works with 180 artisans across Mexico to create apparel and accessories.
Currently made up of 15 artisans, with a focus on ceramic pieces, Alfareros de Patamban was first formed in 1981. They train creatives to use both traditional and new methods of making.
Grovas has worked on various projects focusing on work of Indigenous people. The artist, for example, created an installation categorizing weaving elements similar to how we see the alphabet. (Grovas has also worked with Alfareros de Patamban.)
This group of women embroiderers are from a variety of communities in Puebla. Cano says their garments "represent knowledge passed from generation to generation."
Chilean artist Alejandra Prieto creates works that "refer a lot to the idea of the mirror," Cano explains.The artist often uses materials like coal and metal which Cano says resemble pre-Columbian obsidian mirrors.
Antonio José Guzman creates large pieces dyed with indigo, some of which are investigations into his own DNA. They operate as individual pieces and also costumes for performances. The pieces show "how African, Asian, and Latin American continents merge together through this technique," according to Cano. Guzman has also collaborated with artisans like Sufiyan Ismail Khatr.