- McKay Campbell
Local art gallery integrates Hispanic Heritage Month with demand for climate change
Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Ronaldo Chang Barrero, the owner of West Palm Beach art warehouse, the Box Gallery, is finding new ways to integrate present social movements with Hispanic-influenced art. His gallery contains various works from over 50 local, national and international artists. Barrero chooses to display art representing underrepresented and overrepresented issues by finding artists that are not creating commodities, but have depth and context.
“Everything is a social justice exhibit,” Barrero says.
For the past seven years, Barrero has held an annual exhibit for Hispanic Heritage Month. This year, this exhibit looks slightly different. With the United Nations Climate Change Hub 360, an event showcasing actions for climate change prevention, starting on Oct. 16, he wanted to combine the two events to create more influence for this particular exhibit.
“Hispanic Heritage [Month] did not make me shy away from the issue of the environment, or conservation and stewardship,” Barrero adds.
The Box Gallery is now displaying the work of Colombian artist, Moises Morales Duque, whose work debuted in San Fransisco and, later, Colombia. Duque takes an unorthodox approach to art by setting a blank canvas in public areas and welcoming people to paint freely, documenting the human footprint. Duque then paints around the stains and adds an animal in the middle of the man-made chaos.
“These paintings are a call to think a little bit more about our actions,” Duque expressed.
Duque invites all ages to paint on his canvases, but admits that children are normally the primary contributors. Both Barrero and Duque agreed that collecting impressions from children makes a stronger impression.
“The more footprints that we leave, the less room there is for cohabitation,” Barrero says.
By doing away with a normal exhibit, like highlighting artists of Hispanic heritage, Barrero, with the help of artist friend Duque, is becoming a strong driving force for social justice art.
The Box Gallery does not shy away from highlighting difficult topics that are being discussed by the youth of today. Barrero said he thinks of a gallery as a sacred space, or temple, where controversial conversations can exist without challenging others’ reputations.
By McKay Campbell