“Am I Latina enough?” is a question often voiced from new members entering Latinas Unidas en las Artes, otherwise known as LUNA – a Latinx art collective based in Milwaukee, WI. We will be answering this question directly as a part of our next group exhibition, HOOPS, opening on September 12th at Urban Ecology Menomonee Valley from 5pm-7pm and this October/November in our Pop Up MKE temporary space on S. Cesar Chavez Drive.
Hoop earrings are tied to Latinx identity and symbolize anything from strength to culture & tradition to ritual. Most LUNA members grew up wearing them as a second skin, and there are some members who did not. Does this make them any less Latina? Latinx identity is layered and complex, and each member is on their own journey towards reconnecting with their roots. To be a Latinx artist in today’s world means we’re constantly working to reject stigmas, that we’re unwavering in the pursuit of inclusive and safe spaces, that we refuse to conform for others’ comfortability and we won’t stand for diluting and policing of our ethnicities, cultures and traditions.
Some artists have been hesitant to join because: “I don’t speak Spanish, am I Latina enough?” or “I’m half Latina, can I still join?” and even, “I just moved to Milwaukee, and I’m trying to find other Latina artists.” The answer will always be YES. No matter your background, being a part of LUNA not only challenges and pushes you artistically but allows for difficult conversations that are often not talked about in Latinx spaces. Many of these discussions have driven our shows themes, who we’re inviting into the group and also who we choose as partners. Many of LUNA’s members have been shut out of art conversations and galleries but together we’ve created spaces that are inclusive and empower each other to celebrate and take pride in our Latinx identities.
We’re excited to announce our partnership with the Cesar Chavez BID,Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiativeand the Pop Up MKE program. Beginning this October LUNA will run a small art gallery space and store located at 1037 S. Cesar Chavez Drive. This gallery will also house art studios for collective members to create art and hold art workshops for the community. Please join us on September 16th at 6pm for the Pop Up MKE Launch Party for a special meet & greet with LUNA and to learn more about our new residency with Pop Up MKE.
“I used to think that identifying as Latina was a series of checks and boxes. Not consciously, but deep down. Anytime I met someone Latina it was obvious. They spoke Spanish. They had an accent. They have traditions. They have roots.”-Lauren WilliamsAm I Latina Enough?is question always at the forefront of our group. And through the HOOPS show and now as a POP UP MKE resident on S. Cesar Chavez Drive, we intend to continue the exploration of our Latinidad within the community and through our art.
*Latinas Unidas en las Artes (LUNA) is a collective made of diverse Latinx artists based in Milwaukee, WI. For more information regarding upcoming shows, partnerships or bookings please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.orgYou can also follow us on social media @lunkamkeofficial.