These portraits are about empowerment, equal rights and respect. I am not rewriting history but asking what if there was mutual respect and exchange instead of destruction, subjugation and opposition?

I have had concerns with people being unable, for one reason or another, to participate in our so-called high cultural experience. Art museums, midtown galleries, blue chip galleries, biennials, art fairs, and similar venues have a feeling of exclusivity and not by their own virtue or volition. Regardless of the reason, I felt that if I would reproduce my paintings onto vinyl, I could bring the work out to the neighborhood. Incorporating it into the visual vernacular on storefronts, sides of buildings, interiors, and other unexpected places, it would seem comfortable there and hopefully be appreciated as “ours.” Even if the artworks are copies and temporary, this outreach is in part about some of the same issues I address in my art: inclusion, fairness and liberties that are also concerns of the ordinary people living in neighborhoods across the metro area. – Hugo X. Bastidas

Works by the artist are displayed at various locations in East Harlem. Organized by the artist with El Museo del Barrio and the tireless assistance of Zugeiy Yepez and Suellisse Acevedo. Courtesy of the artist and Nohra Haime Gallery and generously hosted by our El Barrio partners:

Harleys Smoke Shack, 355 East 116th Street, New York, NY, 10029
El Nuevo Caridad, 2257 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10029
Sandy, 2261 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10035
El Tapatio, 209 East 116th Street, New York, N.Y., 10029
La Taqueria Del Barrio, 2327 First Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10035
Guajillo Mexican Kitchen, 2277 First Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10035
El Agave Deli and Grocery, 218 East 116th Street, New York, N.Y., 10029
ELN Corporation, 183 East 111th Street, New York, NY 10029
Pipo’s Mexican Restaurant, 166 East 118th Street #3, New York, NY 10035
Mexico Travel, 238 East 116th Street # 1, New York, NY 10029
Featured image: Detail of Hugo Bastidas, Maria Tallchief, 2015; oil on linen; 60 x 40 in; Courtesy of the Nohra Haime Gallery.

unoxuno is a series of solo projects for contemporary art at El Museo del Barrio. They focus on a single work or installation by a single artist or collaborative group. unoxuno presents the work of local artists in alternative public spaces at the museum, the lobby and El Café, for an entire year. Invited artists are asked to propose a work for these designated areas. Artists featured in the past in this series are COPE2 (b. 1968, South Bronx, New York) and Indie184 (b. 1980, Puerto Rico), Manuel Acevedo (b. 1964, Newark, New Jersey), and Sarah E. Zapata (b. 1988, Corpus Christi, Texas), Joiri Minaya (b. 1990, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), Ernest Concepcíon (b. 1978, Manila, Philippines), and Lina Puerta (b. Englewood, New Jersey).