The Latin American Cultural Center (LACC), located at 4338 Bigelow Boulevard in the Oakland section of the city, is proud to present the spectacular new special exhibit Mexican Masks: Symbols, Celebrations, Satire, and Safety that will be on display until April 23, 2024. Mexican Masks includes photos, artworks, videos, and masks—both ancient and contemporary—from diverse regions of Mexico to highlight the prominent roles that masks have in the country’s culture. Comprised of an exquisite collection never previously exhibited to the public, LACC staff borrowed objects from prominent private collections and with the collaboration of anthropologists at the renowned Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia (ENAH) in Mexico City.
The exhibit displays the use of masks prior to Spanish colonization, as well as showcasing how mask forms throughout the country have evolved to their current uses in celebrations, festivals, and other intriguing ways. Highlighted are masks used in festivals in four diverse regions of Mexico. The exhibit also demonstrates how during the twentieth century masks have become works of art cherished by tourists and collectors from around the world in addition to being essential to religious ceremonies.
Additionally, in an unexpected twist, symbols and themes from these masks have been appropriated for the costumes worn by freestyle wrestlers in Mexico. During the COVID pandemic, some of these wrestlers coped with difficult economic times by making COVID masks with similar symbols and themes. Finally, several fine examples are shown of how traditional mask-makers have portrayed the COVID virus in contemporary masks. In all, 88 spectacular masks are displayed, along with photos and videos showing how these masks are used in festivals in Mexican communities.
One of Pittsburgh’s newest cultural amenities, LACC opened in September 2022 as a museum and cultural center with a mission to celebrate Latin American Cultures through compelling physical and cyber exhibits dedicated to sharing and fostering a heightened understanding and appreciation for Latin American arts, history and culture. Only minutes away from the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC hospitals and offices, Carnegie Mellon University, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, and Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, the new Cultural Center is strategically placed for residents, students, and tourists. LACC is rapidly gaining a reputation as unique among Latin American organizations in the United States, as well as an important resource for teachers and students in the region.
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About the Latin American Cultural Center (LACC)
LACC features a small but highly informative museum display, as well as live programming in an intimate performance venue that highlights the diverse cultures, music, film, and current day issues of Latin America and the Caribbean. Exhibits and related programming will be open to school groups who wish to explore this incredible region of our world. A large exhibit gallery is reserved for featuring changing presentations of special topics related to this vast geographical area.