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Take a Sneak Peek!

What does it take to build the Smithsonian's first museum space dedicated to celebrating Latino history and culture? 

Although the Molina Family Latino Gallery is still under construction, we’re giving you a look behind the scenes at the new gallery space, contemporary artworks, and Latino storytellers.

 

Shaping the Tree of Life

We commissioned renowned, third-generation ceramic artist Verónica Castillo to create a Tree of Life (or Árbol de la Vida) for ¡Presente! These clay sculptures are traditionally religious in theme, but Castillo’s works are unique. They depict social injustices and people’s everyday lives. For this exhibit, Castillo is creating a Tree of Life that recreates some of the themes featured in ¡Presente! See the clay speak to Castillo as her tree about Latinas/os in the United States comes to life.

Color photo of woman in art studio smiling, showing viewer a sketchbook with black line drawing
Color photo of woman in art studio attaching large clay loop to larger clay piece on table.
Color photo of woman in art studio standing, attaching large clay loop to larger clay piece
Color photo of woman in art studio standing in front of large clay piece, holding large clay loop
Color photo of woman in art studio standing beside and touching clay sculpture her height
Color photo of two women in art studio; one sits at table, other stands painting tall clay sculpture

All Tree of Life photos credit Al Rendon, 2021. NMAL

Bringing Stories to Life

The center of the Molina Family Latino Gallery has been named the Foro for its plaza-like design, which lends itself to communal interactions between individuals and small groups. Eight media interactive digital storyteller totems are situated throughout the Foro, where visitors will be able to interact with a variety of contemporary first-person oral histories. Take a look at images taken behind the scenes while filming Foro storytellers Dr. Mario Molina and Maria Hinojosa. 

Color photo of large green screen behind man seated on stool in front large professional camera

Dr. Mario Molina on set in Los Angeles, California.
2021, NMAL

Color photo of large green screen behind woman seated on stool in front black professional camera

Maria Hinojosa shares her experiences on camera.
2021, NMAL

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