SAPIYKUNAPAQ: MY ROOTS, MIS RAICES is a collection of Peruvian heritage art by Alex Paul Loza. As part of the Visual Arts Program at the North River Civic Center, the paintings are on view Oct. 8 through Dec. 28.
There will be an opening reception on Sunday, Oct. 20 at the North River Civic Center, 1009 Executive Dr. in Hixson.
Activities that day include:
• Artist Talk, 1:30-2 p.m.;
• Meet & Greet:, 2-4 p.m.; and
• Peruvian Dance Performance, 2:30 p.m. by the Association Cultural Peruana Aklla Sumaq of Atlanta.
Admission is free and open to the public. There will be heavy hors d'oeuvres catered by AJI Peruvian Restaurant of Ooltewah.
About the artist:
Alex Paul Loza (b. 1978) is a community-engaged multidisciplinary artist based in Chattanooga, with a heart for social advocacy and a deep appreciation of figurative narrative art. He received his BFA from Chicago’s best American Academy of Art. With two decades of experience, Loza has been commissioned to paint portraits and custom art for private and public art collectors throughout North and South America. He has also lead, created and collaborated with national muralists in several public art projects in Chicago and Chattanooga.
In addition to creating public artworks, Loza spends time in his studio creating oil paintings and sculptures to exhibit in local and national galleries and museums. Outside of his studio practice, Loza has been an adjunct art professor at Lee University. He has contributed to numerous local organizations by offering art classes, workshops and demonstrations to the community, including serving on committees and boards such as the Latin American advisory committee for the Hunter Museum of American Art, and member of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Any Given Child, an initiative by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Loza continues to engage with his community through public art and cultural events.
After a nation-wide search, Loza has recently been selected to sculpt a monument of Thaddeus Stevens, one of the greatest statesmen in United States history, known as the savior of public education in Pennsylvania, as well as the father of the 14th Amendment, the single most important Constitutional amendment requiring equal treatment under the law and extending civil liberties to the state level. The monument will be installed in Gettysburg, Pa. in April, 2022.
My artwork exemplifies an exploration of the human experience. With every painting I strive to capture the essence of my subject. I am constantly seeking to improve and evolve as an artist with persistent goals to develop my capacity to express and portray the essence, beauty, variations and the complexities of the human form and its environment.
Sapiykunapaq: My Roots, Mis Raíces exhibition portrays my Peruvian heritage; from ancient indigenous folktales to the encounter between the Incas and the Spanish conquistadors. It also highlights the cultural fusion between Peru’s ancestral people with the African and European cultures. And last but not least three large portraits to celebrate the lives of family members that instilled in me love and appreciation for my origins and other cultures.
The inspiration for this painting series is a re-connection with my Peruvian roots and a response to young Peruvians as well as U.S. born Latino youth who experienced a disconnection with their Latino and/or Peruvian heritage. I can relate as I too experienced that disconnection during my youth, which lead me to ask myself these questions, “Where am I from?”, “What does it mean to be a U.S. - Peruvian?” and “How can I inspire others as an artist?”
Only by connecting to our roots we will be able to understand who we are as individuals but at the same time construct a better appreciation for other cultures, traditions, experiences and opinions. After attending this exhibition I invite you to take an opportunity to discover or rediscover Your Roots, bond with peoples of diverse cultures and together celebrate each other’s similarities and differences.
Sapiykunapaq means “my roots” in the Quechua language.