I feel it is important to document these scenes of joy that animate my vision of a Black America filled with humanity.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce Evita Tezeno's The Moments We Share Are the Memories We Keep, a new series of large-scale mixed-media collage paintings. This will be the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, on view from September 2 through October 28, 2023. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, September 2nd, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
As a continuation of My Life, My Story, Tezeno’s 2022 solo exhibition, the series builds on visual narratives depicting soulful everyday scenes of Black life - introducing us to new friends, family, and endearing moments from the artist’s life. Tezeno uses a combination of richly patterned hand-painted papers, acrylic paint, vintage buttons inherited from her grandmother, and other media to portray the intimacies and joys of growing up in South Texas. She incorporates her love for seeing people dressed elegantly into figures adorned in stylish clothing to capture a sense of dignity.
In "Beyond the Path There is a New Birth," Tezeno entrusts us with vulnerable life changes and embraces the process of personal discovery and growth. Themes of healing through nature are evinced in "Reflections on Times Past," which shows Tezeno in a reflective state with a bouquet of colorful tulips as a healing reminder of the need to be open to the presence of God and birds as symbols of the artist’s guardians and keepers of her cherished memories.
Culturally rich moments from the artist’s childhood are depicted in "When Family Gathers," in which a young Tezeno is portrayed sitting at a dinner table engaged in conversation with multigenerational family members. The artist highlights meaningful exchanges and the significance of shared meals and conversation in Black American households. In "The Rhythm of Street Life," Tezeno recalls days spent out on the town with her family and the dynamism of Port Arthur’s bustling street life and its vibrant Black community in the 1960s.
The artist introduces us to her great-uncle, Wilson, and his wife, Irene. Belying his serious demeanor, she recalls Wilson as an exuberant presence in her life whose beautiful energy stuck with her after his passing. And "Auntie" Ida, a family friend who is also part of the artist’s community, represents the progression of friends into family. Likewise, in "When I Grow Up..." we become acquainted with her brother’s best friend, whom she remembers as a hustler and storyteller with great aspirations. To Tezeno, the young boy exemplifies the positive impact of storytelling on human connection.
The Moments We Share Are the Memories We Keep is a fictional extension of Tezeno’s fondest memories, the stories of family members across generations, and her own personal dreams. Most of all, these visual anecdotes are a testament to the artist’s ability to create indisputable beauty out of the simpler moments in life.
Evita Tezeno (b. 1960, Port Arthur, Texas) is a graduate of Lamar University and lives and works in Dallas. She is the recipient of the 2023 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Fine Arts from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York.
Recent solo exhibitions include Out of Many (2023) at the Houston Museum of African American Culture, Houston, TX; My Life, My Story (2022) and Better Days (2021), at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles; Memories and Montages (2021) at Just Lookin’ Gallery, Hagerstown, MD; Memories Create Our Yesterdays and Tomorrows (2019) at the Thelma Harris Garris Gallery, Oakland, CA; #Us Too: Phenomenal Women (2019) at the African American Museum, Dallas, TX; Memories That Speak to My Soul (2018), Stella Jones Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Thoughts of Time Gone By (2017) and Memories From Yesterday (2014), at the Peg Alston Gallery in New York, NY. Selected two-person exhibitions include Sharing Memories (2021), featuring Tezeno and Jas Mardis, at the ArtCentre of Plano, Plano, TX; and Piece by Piece (2020), including the artistry of Carolyn Crump, at Just Lookin’ Gallery, Hagerstown, MD.
Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, African American Museum of Dallas, Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA; Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; Bill and Christy Gautreaux Collection, Kansas City; Arthur M. Lewis, Los Angeles; Rodney M. Miller Collection, New York, NY; and The Bunker: The Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, Palm Beach, FL, among others.