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Reston art institute partners with Mexican embassy for first time on exhibit about immigrant experiences

The exhibit marks the 50th anniversary of Tephra (Photo corutesy Cognate Collective)

A new exhibit opening this week at Reston’s Tephra Institute for Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA) celebrates the richness and complexity of the immigrant experience.

Partly powered by a partnership with the Mexican Cultural Institute of Mexico’s embassy in the U.S., the exhibit “Hacia la Vida/Toward Life” features work from artists of Mexican descent: Baltimore-based Hoesy Corono and the California duo Cognate Collective.

The exhibit, which opens on Saturday (March 11), aims to create a new framework to understand the position of immigrants. Registration for the free event is open online.

“There is a fearlessness in this exhibition that I find so compelling,” Tephra ICA Associate Curator & Festival Director Hannah Barco said. “Just as these artists do not shy away from the daunting political issues of immigration and climate change, they are not afraid to be bold, colorful, and vibrant; and to work with the quotidian, the simple objects, and materials around them. They are not afraid to follow their joy.”

The exhibit is the first of three planned to mark the 50th anniversary of Tephra, which launched in 1974 as the Greater Reston Arts Center.

This is Tephra’s first time partnering with the Mexican Cultural Institute. It will host workshops with the artist team during the exhibit.

“The Mexican Cultural Institute of Washington, DC is committed to enriching the relationship between Mexico and the United States and we are very excited to partner for the first time with Tephra ICA for this program celebrating life, art, and its 50th anniversary,” said Min. Ix-Nic Iruegas Peón, executive director of the Mexican Cultural Institute.

Corona will headline a performance at this year’s Tephra ICA Arts Festivalformerly known as the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival — on May 20 and 21.

The festival, which is presented by Reston Community Center (RCC), will feature an artistic performance that explores migration and displacement caused by climate change.

“RCC is delighted to present a riveting and spectacular performing arts experience in combination with this exceptional Festival,” RCC Board Chair Beverly Cosham. “We look forward to immersing ourselves in beauty and thought-provoking creativity at Reston Town Center.”

Cognate Collective primarily develops research projects, public interventions and experimental teaching programs with communities across the U.S. and Mexico border.

A workshop with the collective is slated for March 11 from 11-12:30 p.m. at the Mexican Cultural Institute in D.C. A date for the workshop with Corona has not yet been announced.

An artist talk and opening reception is slated for March 11 from 5-7 p.m. at Tephra ICA (12001 Market Street, Suite 103). Visitors will active the installation by lighting a candle and reciting an incantation to express solidarity with migrants. Cognate Collective will lead the interactive performance.

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