Students explored displays of Mexican art, history and immigration Thursday in Herman B Wells Library during the library’s Exploremos open house.
Exploremos was just one event put on as part of IU Arts and Humanities Council’s Mexico Remixed programming. The third annual remixed festival aims to celebrate the culture and history of a certain country each year through a series of events, activities and speakers, said Ed Comentale, director of the Arts and Humanities Council.
“It celebrates our international students, showcases our resources and knowledge in that area and explores current art and culture from that country,” Comentale said. “When we say remixed, we are referring to people who are actively remaking and rethinking the traditions of their country."
The event, organized by IU Libraries, showcased many of the university’s art collections relating to Mexican and Mexican-American heritage.
“We want to create awareness about the collections, to bring greater visibility and generate interest in the cultural assets we have in Bloomington,” said Luis Gonzalez, librarian for the Latin American, Spanish & Portuguese, Latino and European studies programs.
The Mexico Remixed program is in its third year, following previous explorations of China and India.
In addition to speakers, films, performances and activities that celebrate traditional Mexican arts and culture, Mexico Remixed will also put on more contemporary events with artists like comic book maker Jaime Hernandez and pastry chef Fany Gerson.
“We’re looking beyond traditional or fine arts to explore other kinds of art and culture, too,” Comentale said.
Junior Estefani Alcaraz said having a program like Mexico Remixed is necessary at such a large, multicultural university.
“You get to experience and learn about different cultures,” she said. “And when you learn about different cultures, it makes you open up more as a human and makes you more understanding.”
A large part of Thursday’s event was the One Book exhibit, which was centered around Mexican author Valeria Luiselli’s book “Tell Me How It Ends.” Students who passed a quiz about the exhibit won a free copy of the book as a reward. Book discussions and an evening with Luiselli are included in Mexico Remix’s future events.
“It’s a really good book for people to understand immigration and why people do it,” Alcaraz said. “I think it’s really enriching for students.”
Other exhibits showed different areas of traditional and modern Mexican culture, from music and literature to board games and current fashion. Each exhibit provided an activity for attendees to learn more about the topics.
“We have rich and unique Mexican collections,” Gonzalez said. “And the opportunity to put together these displays in conjunction with Mexico Remixed provides a unique spotlight for that.”
Mexico Remixed began in November, and events will continue through April.