Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lesser Known Museum in Chicago: National Museum of Mexican Art

The National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) has long been one of a kind-- and I think it might still be.  If you have never heard of this lesser know museum in Chicago, and most people have not, it can be found in Pilsen and its mission is to preserve knowledge and appreciation of Mexican culture.

Okay, so my first memory of the NMMA had to be when I was about six or seven.  My older brother was working on a school project and my mom took us over in search of an accurate picture of one of these:

Considering how many visits I have made to Pilsen, much of my extended family lives literally right down the block from the NMMA, I have not had the chance to visit the museum as many times as I would like.  

But, the National Museum of Mexican Art has a very impressive collection and they always have super interesting exhibitions going on that are very relevant to the world today.  For that reason, I wanted to introduce as many people as I could to this really neat place-- even if I only have a few readers right now.

Currently, there is a really important exhibition that they are hosting called, Rastros y Cronicas: Mujeres de Juarez-- an issue that is very important to me.  I have done a couple posts between this blog and my book blog, The Opening Lines, regarding the need to end modern day slavery.  

If you don't already know, women have been disappearing in Juarez for quite some time now.  At first several were ending up outside the city, dumped in no man's land, but lately they have just gone missing.  Women and girls are just nabbed from the street and most of them end up victims of human trafficking, never to be heard from again.

It is a horrible tragedy for so many women and girls, as well as the families who never give up hope that their daughters will make it back home. This exhibition faces the issue head on.  From the website:

"For some time now, Mexican and Mexican American artists have been sensitive to the subject of Women in Juarez and have worked on diverse projects to share their perspective on this disturbing situation. The thought provoking pieces throughout the exhibition serve as a chronicle of the struggles of Mexican women and the grievous deaths in Ciudad Juarez. By generating awareness, the artwork supports the cause of the victim's families who search for justice and truth.  The artists of Rastros y Cronicas compel the viewer to comprehend and sympathize with what the victims endured and what the living continue to face.  In this way, our generation and future generations will not forget or ignore the loss of life in Ciudad Juarez."       

Things you should know about the NMMA:
  • It is the nation's largest Latino arts institution and the only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums. 
  • The museum has been free to visitors since 1987.
  • It is located in the heart of Pilsen.
  • The NMMA just won the 2009 Coming Up Taller Award for its Youth Initiative
  • More than a dozen programs have been launched outside Chicago.
For more information on the NMMA, visit:The National Museum of Mexican Art

See also:
Libertad Latina- Website dedicated to the plight of indigenous women in Latin America
Amnesty International USA-- Stop Violence Against Women
The Juarez Project-- Dedicated to bringing justice for the Women of Juarez
On Modern Day Slavery-- Review I wrote of the book, A Crime So Monstrous
Movies About Modern Day Slavery-- another post on this very blog

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