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VOA标准英语2010年-Mexican-American Artist Brings Immigra

时间:2010-11-09 02:15来源:互联网 提供网友:52111   字体: [ ]

The Latino experience is a common theme for Mexican-American artist Tony Ortega. His work often examines the overlooked contributions of people - especially immigrants - who do manual labor1.

An exhibit of of Ortega's work in Boulder2, Colorado, is prompting conversations about the U.S. Mexico border, and those who cross it.


Life in the shadows

When Ortega talks about his art with museum visitors, he sometimes asks them to choose their favorite. Especially when those visitors are young.

The boys in one group all have parents who are immigrants from Mexico. In Ortega's exhibit at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, they see plenty of familiar images. Ortega - who works in charcoal3, silkscreen and colored etchings - has drawn4 a maid tidying a hotel bed, a carpenter hammering a roof. Ortega asks the boys what kind of work their parents do.

Tony Ortega, The Maid, 2007
Tony Ortega's work often examines the overlooked contributions of people, especially immigrants, who do manual labor.
"The same thing of the painting," says one. "My dad makes bread and my mom cleans houses."

"Yeah," adds his companion. "My grandmother who raised me cleaned houses also."

Ortega's grandmother encouraged him to go to college, the first in his family to do so. Her efforts to support the family helped him view laborers5 - especially immigrant workers - with a sympathetic eye.

"What I'm trying to do with the work is to try to make an invisible part of the population, people who take care of our kids, who clean our streets and our houses, who pick our crops, more visible," says Ortega. "I think they make major contributions, but they're in the shadows."

Shedding light

Art can help bring them out of the shadows, says Rich Lopez, a Denver attorney touring the exhibit.

"I've been a fan of Tony Ortega for many years. He's captured the essence of the Chicano Mexican American experience in his art for years and years, and his colors and images are quite memorable7. The mechanic looks like my cousin."

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
Tony Ortega takes part in visiting artist programs and recently enlisted8 children to help him create a wall-sized mural about their neighborhood.
Images like that mechanic have earned Ortega a showing in galleries and museums throughout the United States. He's also become a sought-after teacher, at Denver's Regis University and through visiting artist programs. For a recent project, Ortega enlisted children to help him create a wall-sized mural about their neighborhood.

"One little boy, at the end of the week, he says, 'Have we learned all the techniques that you can learn about painting?' I says, 'Well, there's not enough time in a week.' And he says 'Well, I want to learn all of those."

Tony Ortega, Speedy Gonzales Helps the Underdog, detail, 2005
The ghostly outline of Speedy is superimposed over Tony Ortega's image of a laborer6 as a martyr9.
Exploring the immigrant experience

At the museum exhibit, Ortega asks the boys which picture to talk about next. They choose one full of electric-bright, scribbled10 images. Superimposed on those is the outline of a famous cartoon mouse. Not Mickey. It's Speedy Gonzales, a Mexican-American mouse, who always saves other mice from Sylvester the Cat.

"To me, Speedy's always helping11 the Mexicans. He's always saving his buddies12 against the gringo gato because Sylvester wants to eat him," Ortega tells the laughing boys.

Then he points out that - behind his ghostly outline of Speedy - is a man who carries water buckets, suspended from a wooden yoke13 across his shoulders. The man's legs look long and narrow while his arms, draped over the yoke, stretch wide.

Courtesy Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
Mexican-American artist Tony Ortega's work often explores the Latino immigrant experience.
"What is this guy doing? Is he like a Christ figure?" Ortega asks the boys.

The boys study Ortega's image of a laborer as a martyr, and discuss how hard work and sacrifice do not necessarily guarantee a warm welcome in America. There is more religious imagery in another piece on display.

It's an image of the Statue of Liberty. But not the green-robed Liberty with her proud, green face. Ortega's Liberty wears the blue robes of Mexico's beloved Virgin14 of Guadalupe, and her brown face looks kind.

The boys praise Ortega's exhibit. For some, this is a first ever visit to an art museum.

"People, Mexican people in the paintings that he does," says one. "They're all awesome15."

His friend agrees. "He showed me how life could be for Mexicans, and that sometimes it could be sad, but sometimes it could have a great life."

Ortega was honored with the Colorado Governor's Award for Excellence16 in the Arts for his work inspiring people to see the beauty and challenges of hidden lives.

His exhibit at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is called, "Mi Frontera es Su Frontera," which means, "My Border is Your Border."


1 labor P9Tzs     
  • We are never late in satisfying him for his labor.我们从不延误付给他劳动报酬。
  • He was completely spent after two weeks of hard labor.艰苦劳动两周后,他已经疲惫不堪了。
2 boulder BNbzS     
  • We all heaved together and removed the boulder.大家一齐用劲,把大石头搬开了。
  • He stepped clear of the boulder.他从大石头后面走了出来。
3 charcoal prgzJ     
  • We need to get some more charcoal for the barbecue.我们烧烤需要更多的碳。
  • Charcoal is used to filter water.木炭是用来过滤水的。
4 drawn MuXzIi     
  • All the characters in the story are drawn from life.故事中的所有人物都取材于生活。
  • Her gaze was drawn irresistibly to the scene outside.她的目光禁不住被外面的风景所吸引。
5 laborers c8c6422086151d6c0ae2a95777108e3c     
n.体力劳动者,工人( laborer的名词复数 );(熟练工人的)辅助工
  • Laborers were trained to handle 50-ton compactors and giant cranes. 工人们接受操作五十吨压土机和巨型起重机的训练。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the laborers. 雇佣劳动完全是建立在工人的自相竞争之上的。 来自英汉非文学 - 共产党宣言
6 laborer 52xxc     
  • Her husband had been a farm laborer.她丈夫以前是个农场雇工。
  • He worked as a casual laborer and did not earn much.他当临时工,没有赚多少钱。
7 memorable K2XyQ     
  • This was indeed the most memorable day of my life.这的确是我一生中最值得怀念的日子。
  • The veteran soldier has fought many memorable battles.这个老兵参加过许多难忘的战斗。
8 enlisted 2d04964099d0ec430db1d422c56be9e2     
adj.应募入伍的v.(使)入伍, (使)参军( enlist的过去式和过去分词 );获得(帮助或支持)
  • enlisted men and women 男兵和女兵
  • He enlisted with the air force to fight against the enemy. 他应募加入空军对敌作战。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
9 martyr o7jzm     
  • The martyr laid down his life for the cause of national independence.这位烈士是为了民族独立的事业而献身的。
  • The newspaper carried the martyr's photo framed in black.报上登载了框有黑边的烈士遗像。
10 scribbled de374a2e21876e209006cd3e9a90c01b     
v.潦草的书写( scribble的过去式和过去分词 );乱画;草草地写;匆匆记下
  • She scribbled his phone number on a scrap of paper. 她把他的电话号码匆匆写在一张小纸片上。
  • He scribbled a note to his sister before leaving. 临行前,他给妹妹草草写了一封短信。
11 helping 2rGzDc     
  • The poor children regularly pony up for a second helping of my hamburger. 那些可怜的孩子们总是要求我把我的汉堡包再给他们一份。
  • By doing this, they may at times be helping to restore competition. 这样一来, 他在某些时候,有助于竞争的加强。
12 buddies ea4cd9ed8ce2973de7d893f64efe0596     
n.密友( buddy的名词复数 );同伴;弟兄;(用于称呼男子,常带怒气)家伙v.(如密友、战友、伙伴、弟兄般)交往( buddy的第三人称单数 );做朋友;亲近(…);伴护艾滋病人
  • We became great buddies. 我们成了非常好的朋友。 来自辞典例句
  • The two of them have become great buddies. 他们俩成了要好的朋友。 来自辞典例句
13 yoke oeTzRa     
  • An ass and an ox,fastened to the same yoke,were drawing a wagon.驴子和公牛一起套在轭上拉车。
  • The defeated army passed under the yoke.败军在轭门下通过。
14 virgin phPwj     
  • Have you ever been to a virgin forest?你去过原始森林吗?
  • There are vast expanses of virgin land in the remote regions.在边远地区有大片大片未开垦的土地。
15 awesome CyCzdV     
  • The church in Ireland has always exercised an awesome power.爱尔兰的教堂一直掌握着令人敬畏的权力。
  • That new white convertible is totally awesome.那辆新的白色折篷汽车简直棒极了.
16 excellence ZnhxM     
  • His art has reached a high degree of excellence.他的艺术已达到炉火纯青的地步。
  • My performance is far below excellence.我的表演离优秀还差得远呢。
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