If the Gladstone’s walls could talk, you can be sure they would never shut up. And you wouldn’t want them to – with 126 years under our belt, this old building has some tales to tell. But walls can’t talk. So we bring in fascinating artists to adorn our bricks with art that almost always has an equally fascinating story behind it.
We chatted with Lauren Hortie, the artist behind our newest installation in the Cafe to learn about her series Charreada Hoy! Inspired by rural Mexican traditions, she used a traditional art form to capture her experience in Mexico while completing a residency at Anima Casa Rural. Celebrate this fantastic addition to the dining space this Thursday March 10 for the opening reception from 7-10 pm.
Anima Casa Rural, where Lauren stayed in Mexico.
What inspired your series?
I went to Mexico in November for an artist’s residency and stayed at Anima Casa Rural, a program run former Torontonian Julian Calleros who now hosts artists at his parent’s family farm. While I was there, I was exposed to the Charreada Rodeo in San Isidoro Maztapec, a rural town of 6,000 in Jalisco State. There are three rodeo stadiums there which foster a huge pastime on Sunday afternoons. Where Canadians might have some beers and toss around a baseball in a league, the community goes to Charreada. The prints are influenced by what I saw and the people I met there.
That sounds incredible. What’s it like?
Charreada is the precursor to what Canadians and Americans know as rodeo. But it’s different. Charreada includes costumes and music as well as activities like bull riding and calf roping. Lots of food. People drink like crazy. The cowboys wear elaborate outfits, which you can see in my prints – sombreros, embroidered belts and saddles. Everything is really adorned. They’ve taken the symbols of rural work culture like handling animals and riding horses, and turned them into more than a sport or work. It’s art and performance.
What materials did you use?
I was inspired by Mexican papel picado (“cut paper”), a traditional art form used to decorate homes and public spaces for special events. All the prints were drawn on a single piece of paper and then cut out with an exacto knife.
Is Charreada something the whole community took part in?
It’s really social. People don’t compete for money, it’s really just for fun and a place to hang out. I grew up on a farm and am really interested in rural culture. The rodeo is a cool example of arts and culture being cultivated outside of the city. There were so many unique cultural traditions that the community produced and consumed for themselves. It’s culture based on their experience by and for each other.