Flint, MI—Buckham Gallery in downtown Flint has partnered with local artist Matthew Osmon as well as Factory Two and the Latinx Technology and Community Center to create a screen print honoring and celebrating Flint’s Latinx community.
The partnership is part of the Buckham Fine Art Project On Screen printmaking series.
The limited edition print, of which only 45 were made, was designed by Osmon and printed on Detroit-made paper in downtown Flint’s Factory Two. Osmon presented the first two prints to Asa Zuccaro, the tech center’s director on Friday, Feb. 19.
“We really try to incorporate art and culture into our building, so this piece … it’s really another great (addition) to our collection that ties into our culture and our local community,” Zuccaro said.
According to Zuccaro, with whom Osmon consulted when designing the print, the different design elements that make up the piece all incorporate references to Mexican and Chicano culture and history.
Small details like the word ‘huelga’ or strike in Spanish, printed on a man’s hat evoke memories of Hispanic civil rights activists César Chávez and Dolores Huerta for example.
Other aspects of the print, like the Flint Vehicle City arches and the squares dotting the artwork’s border which allude to the tech center’s own logo, serve to connect Mexican culture to Flint in particular.
“We really focused on highlighting the Latinx community and how valuable it is to this town and how untapped it is,” Osmon said.
Though the term ‘Latinx’ is broad and encompasses anyone from Latin American, Osmon says the decision to depict mainly Mexican culture was a conscious one.
“We talked about how it’s really daunting because Latinx is such a broad name. It’s hard to showcase every single country, so I decided to focus more on Aztec and Mayan culture,” Osmon said.
This can be seen in both the Mayan pictographs that line the edges of the print and the Aztec pyramids in the background.
Another small but important detail for both Osmon and Zuccaro was the inclusion of an Afro-Latinx individual in the design. A minority group within a minority group, both Osmon and Zuccaro said making sure they were represented was crucial to the message the design is trying to send.
That same individual who can be seen smiling confidently in the lower right corner of the print is also sporting a lapel with a pin that reads ‘Bolivar’ a reference to Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan military general most known for liberating countries like Colombia, Bolivia, Panama, Ecuador and Peru.
The print, chock-full of details and references to Latinx culture can be bought at Buckham Gallery in downtown Flint for $40. As of publishing, 26 of 45 copies are still available. Proceeds will go directly to The Latinx Technology and Community Center.