100 Colorado Creatives: Daniel and Maruca Salazar
#20: Daniel and Maruca Salazar
Daniel and Maruca Salazar are one of the local Latino arts community's reigning power couples; while Daniel grew up here, Maruca emigrated to Denver from her native Veracruz, Mexico, more than thirty years ago. And they've grown right along with that community over the years as visual and media artists, educators and community cheerleaders, bringing an updated mixture of folkloric symbols and colors, cultural references, sly humor and political statement to video screens and gallery walls in the barrio and beyond. Since 2009, Maruca Salazar has served as director of Denver's Museo de las Americas, presenting satisfying shows that swing between ultra-contemporary to fully folkloric; Daniel currently runs his razalas studio and curates Su Teatro's XicanIndie Film Festival.
What does it mean to live deeply embedded within the heartbeat of the 'hood? Daniel and Maruca Salazar shed some light in the following 100CC questionnaire.
Westword:If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Daniel Salazar: Netzahualcoyotl, the Toltec poet from the fifteenth century. His work still resonates -- "We are here only to dream, not to stay.." -- but it would be a totally different world and lost=world view. Imagine.
Maruca Salazar: I want to collaborate with Mary Magdalene because as the Mexican saying says, she's not a virgin, but she's a saint.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
DS: Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and activist; his work in all mediums is always intriguing and a surprise. He has challenged authoritarian rule with an iconoclastic voice and secured a global platform.
MS: Gabriel Orozco, the voice of the new Latino aesthetic, and he comes from my hometown of Xalapa, Veracruz.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
DS: The conflation of art and economic development. Creative industries is an oxymoron.
MS: Making assumptions that the critics know and determine what art is.
What's your day job?
DS: Razalas studios, digital video and photography.
MS: Executive director for Museo de las Americas.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Provide healthcare for all artists.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Have a plan where everyone is represented and included, especially individual artists.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
DS: Clarissa Pinkola Estes: Her stories empower both men and women.
MS: Museo, or I would not be there.
What's on your agenda in the coming year? MS: To bring young new voices to the Museo that provoke dialogue about important issues.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2014?
Francisco Zamora. He has revitalized the Colorado tradition of Santero wood carving and won over New Mexican purists with his savagely beautiful images.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
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