By Tyler Noland, SOU ’21
In Fall 2019, Justin Favela is bringing the Ashland community into his art. Known for his signature piñata style, Las Vegas based artist Justin Favela currently has an ongoing installation in the Schneider Museum of Art. As the Visiting Artist and Scholar in Teaching (VAST) this term for the Oregon Center for the Arts, he is both teaching and displaying his work in the museum. The installation is in collaboration with his class and will be in progress for the length of the exhibition December 14, 2019.
The exhibition entitled Together/Juntos has come to stand as a pinnacle for community collaboration. The mural is a collection of images from Favela’s students, each of them sending him a picture of a food that holds significance for their families. These foods sit together in a large mural on all the walls of the museum’s Main Gallery. The work is bringing people together physically, as well as the familial togetherness represented through the foods. The title of the exhibition references something Favela’s grandmother has been saying his whole life. Justin says, “Together/Juntos is kind of a joking way of being more inclusive since some of my younger relatives don’t speak Spanish.” This phrase possesses that familial inclusivity of community, and through this exhibition spreads its reach to everyone involved. The mural at its core is about working together.
Justin Favela is a Guatemalan-Mexican-American who, through his unique approach to pop art, is tackling similar themes of identity that carry through all the Fall Exhibitions. By taking charge of a commodified aspect of Mexican culture, he takes control of a certain aspect of representation. Piñatas are fine art despite their commercial perception, and Justin proves just that. He is creating his own version of a cultural cornerstone, and because of that Justin is putting out something uniquely his own.
Now in its fifth week, the Favela Tuesday Team is an opportunity for the community to volunteer in the assembly of the piece. Hosted from 4-8pm every Tuesday until December 10th, it is open to the public where people are encouraged to stop by for any amount of time. The Museum does ask that participants RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Working closely side by side on the mural, people have the perfect chance to talk to someone new and find a momentary sense of purpose and comradery through art.
Together/Juntos will be on display in the Main Gallery at the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, OR from October 24th to December 14th, 2019.
Tyler Noland is a junior Creative Writing major at Southern Oregon University. She is originally from the Bay Area, and this is her second year at the Schneider Museum of Art. While not working on her writing she enjoys thrifting for her newest funky outfit.