Fresh off explorations of the true rainbow that is Mexican ethnic heritage, there's an interesting show up at Art for Humans on Chung King Road in Chinatown devoted to work from or related to Mexicali, a Chinese city on the U.S.-Mexico border. Over the weekend, Art for Humans hosted Mexicali art collective Bezando and artist Armando Rascon for what looked like an intense multimedia performance. Check out the Flickr shots.
Included is a documentary about Mexicali, the most Chinese city in Mexico and some say all of Latin America because it was founded as a Chinese settlement. The video has an interview with a young guy who basically looks as Chinese as can be but is speaking the most perfectly pitched Spanish in the Baja California dialect I grew up listening to on the border, describing the life around him. The effect is a really incredible and welcome dose of cognitive dissonance.
Mexicali is a couple hours east of Tijuana. When you cross the border from Calexico, you are greeted by a huge pagoda. The old city center, the "Chinesca," is filled corner to corner with Mexican Chinese restaurants. Just the same in Calexico, the much smaller village on the U.S. side next-door. Sadly, Art for Humans told me Monday the show remains up only till Wednesday.
Tijuana is pretty Chinese, too. My new brother-in-law's surname is Cerda Wong, and as I saw over the weekend back home, the Asian heritage of TJ lives on in the many faces of my cousins and nephews. (Same goes with the historic Russian influence in the region, in the faces, and names: Anya, Sasha, Vanessa, Katia, etc.) We really are becoming the manifestation of Rodriguez's concept of "Brown." Brings to mind the fallacy of the recent bigotry-tinged row over Zhenli Ye Gon. On that subject, La Opinion has this fresh piece on being Chinese Mexican, and this short look at the impact of the Ye Gon story on the D.F.'s Chinese, who say business has fallen dramatically in the their Chinatown since the scandal broke.
** Art for Humans is that gallery on Chung King where there always seems to be kids playing, as seen in the picture above, originally published here.
*** BLOG NOTE: Apologies to my blog comrades for being late on the blog roll. Many more are on the way.