The Skyline College Art gallery is proud to present Tropeycalia Club, a group installation of paintings, sculpture and more by prominent Bay Area artists John Yoyogi Fortes, Juan Carlos Quintana and Carlo Ricafort.  The exhibition runs from September 22, 2018 to October 20, 2018. A reception will be held for the artists on Saturday, September 22 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the Skyline College Art Gallery.

The title of the exhibition is a play on the 1960’s Afro-Cuban-Brazilian music movement, Tropicalia. Using a conscious misspelling tactic of ‘tropey’, the show explores myriad tropes associated with everything tropical. In his essay about the exhibition, artist and gallerist Arvin Flores explains, “Tales of exotic places, fantasy islands, and otherworldly paradises, utopian in essence, are discourses about the ideal, and thus political by nature. This notion has given inspiration to such classic gangsta rap hits as manifest destiny, or turn of the century eugenics, both having racist leanings with genocidal outcomes. In short, colonial mentality is but a reflection of the master’s image, and colonial states are bastardized versions of the ideal (of course this is not a news flash to everyone).”

The exhibiting artists both embrace and scathingly satirize kitsch tropical imagery that abounds in movies, TV shows, art, music, travel brochures and tourist trap souvenir shops. Imagery runs the gamut from coconut palm trees to stereotyped musicians, to tiki dolls, cannibals, pineapples and bleached bones scattered about on desert islands. Viewers are invited to participate in both deciphering the ways in which these tropical tropes perpetuate themselves in culture, and examining the (unexplored?) and conditioned mental spaces from which these tropes’ biases and prejudices arise.

Viewers are also invited to make their own tropeycalia drawings that can be added to a large collaborative mural project in the gallery. Participate by sending a jpeg image (300 dpi) of a black and white drawing of what comes to mind when you yearn to escape to or from the tropics. Image must be vertical and fit on an 8.5” X 11” sheet of paper. Color images will be converted to black and white. Selected submissions will be printed and installed as a collaborative piece on the gallery wall. To be included by the opening, work must be received by September 22nd. Please submit image no later than Oct 6, 2018.  (Disclaimer: By sending an image you give Tropeycalia Club and Skyline College Art Gallery permission to include your image in the exhibitions promotional material, social media, internet and print. All submitted images, both electronic and printed, will be destroyed after the close of the Tropeycalia Club exhibition.)

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Article by Paul Bridenbaugh, Arvin Flores, Juan Carlos Quintana

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