BEST PRACTICE is pleased to announce the first San Diego exhibition of works by Los Angeles-based 3B Collective – Alfredo Dominguez, Aaron Douglas Estrada, Gustavo Martinez, Oscar Magallanes, and Michael Khosravifard. The exhibition features individual and collaborative works by these artists in painting, sculpture, video, and a site-specific mural.
We are a collective of artists and designers that along with producing our own work create site-specific installations and murals. Having all come from immigrant families, we are committed to providing a platform for inclusive works which encourage pride and recognition of the different facets in our communities. The collective work addresses social inequities by creating public works that would not be possible as individuals, sharing resources, and providing peer support.
The murals of East and South Los Angeles like those of Chicano Park have traditionally served as cultural markers, documenting stories and often serving as coded pneumonic devices for the communities in which they exist. They are a visual representation of generational traditions and rituals. Our first exposure to art was murals and placasos. In our public works, we honor the educational aspects and the tradition of storytelling that murals have. We strive to create conversations around the stories of decolonization and the daily life of our communities.
With the current conversation, around the environment, systemic racism, and monuments along with labor, this exhibition uses the freeway and bridges as a nexus in addressing these issues in BI-POC communities. From the East Los Angeles Interchange to the Balboa Bridge, we look to the parallel histories of the communities that were the victims of “progress” and the aesthetics that arise from concrete and car culture. We have chosen to address the creation of iconic images recognizable even as outlines as a portal into the space itself. The concept of pillars serving as a conversation with the exhibition visitors questioning both the construction of them, but also what lies beneath them both physically and ideologically.
From San Diego all the way to the bay…
By way of Los Angeles passing through TJ.
The land we are on is Kumeyaay land.
By way of land
By way of sea
By way of this land was stolen from you and me
So we were born breaking barriers
By way of building better bridges
By way of documenting the pain, joy, life, and death.
3B Collective consists of six artists and designers. We produce our own work and collaborate with other artists, institutions, and galleries we respect on large-scale, site-specific installations and murals. Five of the six members met during their undergraduate studies at UCLA. All of the members hail from multiple areas of Los Angeles and are committed to providing a platform for inclusive works that encourage pride and recognition of the different facets of their communities. In all our works, we start with the indigenous history of the space and follow the timeline to the present, paying homage to the ancestral lands that we stand on. We strive to provide a visual representation of resilience and inclusivity found within the local community. Our focus on understanding the context of each project allows us to use the knowledge we gain about the place, its residents, and its history to inform our creative process. As children of first-generation immigrant parents, we appreciated the storytelling and educational aspects that murals in our communities provided. In reaction to the erasure and destruction of these murals, we came together to create permanent artworks that can continue to honor a community’s history, and help educate those unfamiliar with its past. These projects work to create a sense of belonging along with promoting the role that public works play in placemaking for those in the communities in which they are installed.
For more on 3B Collective’s work please visit https://3bcollective.com/
Dominguez Diaz born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. Identifies as an indigenous person with roots in Oaxaca, Mexico. The artist’s work oscillates between culture and time, examining how objects can go from functional to artifact due to colonization. The materials used in the artist practice questions assumptions of indigeneity, using historical references to create objects that bring the artist indigenous identity to the present.
Dominguez attended Los Angeles City College from 2006 to 2014 and transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles in 2014 with the UCLA Blue and Gold Scholarship, graduating in 2016 with a BA in Fine Arts. He recently received his MFA in Sculpture from Yale University School of Art in 2019, graduating with the Alice Kimball English Traveling Fellowship, H. Lee Hirsche Dean’s Merit Prize and the George R. Bunker Award.
AARON DOUGLAS ESTRADA
The work functions as a growing ethnographic archive that begins to address the complex histories of Black and Brown bodies, the residue of landscapes, and knowledge of self through the concept of social engineering. The archive contains rituals, residue, life, death, pain, joy, music, and achievements from Black and Brown bodies that have systemically undergone the hardships of the program. I want to examine how disenfranchised demographics are subject to systemic racism and colonial turmoil. The specific locations I document are Downtown Los Angeles, Pico Union, Arlington Heights, South Central, and the Eastside neighborhoods of Los Angeles. I have grown up, fought, cried, and lived in these locations. These areas are filled with multifaceted cultural signifiers: territorial symbols, tags, altars, shrines, murals, and other esoteric residue that contain a layered history. I am documenting these moments of erasure as a way to store memories. My intent is to honor but also question. I am representing and changing icons, signs, and symbols that are associated with Indigenous, Black, and Brown/Latinx cultures. I am interested in conversations about the diaspora, decolonization, and daily life. I want to question the archetypes/stereotypes applied to Black and Brown bodies. I want to document landscape subjugations due to socioeconomic disparities such as unemployment, education, and income. I want the viewer to become a part of the work through their physical presence, position, opposition, or self-recognition.
Martínez was born in 1993 in Los Angeles, California to undocumented Mexican parents. Growing up in Inglewood, California, he noticed the silent violence that was occurring throughout his neighborhood, beginning with the accelerated structural renovations and immediate decrease in crime rates. Although this appeared to be an improvement, he realized that the minority and low-income residents would soon be displaced by the economic changes. As Inglewood continues to be “discovered,” he continues to make work that places the marginalized at the center of his focus.
Martinez received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles.
As a son of Mexicans, I reclaim, expose, and embrace the history of Latinos within Los Angeles. My photographs examine the displacement of working-class Mexicans and Latinos, depicting everyday objects of labor in place of their users to create symbols of these populations. At times these concerns of displacement are revealed through portraiture as subjects are photographed within an environment that exposes their cultural identity and neighborhood. Whether through uncanny absence or defiant presence these varied forms of portraiture are a means of resistance deployed to reclaim the subject’s own existence in a rapidly changing city.
Magallanes is a Los Angeles-based artist, working with painting, sculpture, and mixed media. His artwork is influenced by the cultural and social elements of his upbringing in a Mexican-American barrio east of downtown Los Angeles. At the age of fifteen, he was expelled from high school but was accepted into the Ryman Arts program at the Otis College campus which encouraged him to become a professional artist. The experience of participating in two distinct worlds continues to inform the work. He received his BA in Art from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2016 and is currently an MFA candidate and an Associate Instructor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego.
His work has been exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Museo CEART de Baja California Mexicali, Mexico, the National Museum of Mexican American Art in Chicago, Illinois, the McNay Museum in San Antonio, Texas, Las Cruces Museum of Art in Las Cruces, New Mexico and is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California, the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, Illinois, La Salle University Art Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McNay Museum, San Antonio, Texas, and the Special Collections, University Archives at Bucknell University.
Other professional activities include serving as a board member for the arts education organizations Ryman Arts and Self Help Graphics and Art and as co-chair and member on the Professional Advisory Board for Inner-City Arts.
My work, which includes painting, mobiles, sculpture, and video, is influenced by the social and environmental issues of my upbringing. Conceptually the work is created from an “elsewhere” rather than allowing for an identity that is based on the “othering” of cultural and historical signifiers. The historian Jose Rabasa defines the space of “elsewhere” as a “neuter space that avoids the mirroring effect the category of the Other always carries with respect to the Same.” I find this an important basis for the work as it allows the work to exist as an entity that is not reactionary to western culture, but rather autobiographical of a parallel experience.
My work correlates the connection between colonial institutions and modern-day institutions. I also draw connections between the Tlacuiloque, Pre-columbian scribes, and Chicano/a/x artists. Both living in, adapting to and documenting a plurality of worlds with the ability to not only inhabit but act upon these multiple worlds. The Zapatistas motto is “a world where many worlds are possible.” This comes from Pre-Colombian worldviews that have always allowed for multiple worldviews. A positionality that speaks not only to sustained struggles against colonialism but also of a preservation of culture and traditions through resistant text. By incorporating historical, cultural, and contemporary iconography the work draws connections over hundreds of years, collapsing linear narratives and opening history and literature to multiple readings.
While the work specifically addresses a Chicano experience, it does so from a positionality that allows for conversations about colonialism and the role of institutions in shaping and maintaining dominant narratives.