New Exhibit Examines Africans' role in Mexican Culture

Author: Allison Nanni

By Allison Nanni

Mexico’s rich culture has been long distinguished in art, archaeology and many other fields. However, an important, but largely unknown, contribution to Mexico’s history has been that of the Africans, whose forced immigration to Mexico began in the 1500s. For nearly 500 years, Africans have continued to contribute their artistic, culinary, musical and cultural traditions to Mexican culture.

Africans' Role in Mexican Culture

At a reception on Sept. 12, the Crossroads Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Arts and Culture announced the opening of its newest exhibition, titled, “The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present.” This exhibition, which focuses on the overlooked history of African contributions to Mexican culture from 1519 to the present day, is comprised of educational panels, images and didactics. “The African Presence in Mexico” is on display until Oct. 25 at the center, 1045 W. Washington St., South Bend.

Part of a series of public events associated with this exhibit is an evening of poetry on Oct. 2. Orlando Ricardo Menes, English professor and director of Notre Dame’s Creative Writing Program, will present work from his award-winning, recently published collection, “Fetish” (University of Nebraska Press, 2013), at 7 p.m. at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture.  He will be joined by Notre Dame alumnus and current Sparks Fellow Lauro Vazquez and current Notre Dame student Lynda Letona.

This free, public poetry program is presented in collaboration with Letras Latinas, the literary program of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, and inaugurates what will become an annual Hispanic Heritage Month event at Notre Dame’s Center for Arts and Culture.

Africans' Role in Mexican Culture 2

Co-sponsors include the Institute for Latino Studies, Letras Latinas, the Executive Vice President for Business Affairs and the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame and the Civil Rights Heritage Center of Indiana University South Bend.


Image 1-Cover image developed and designed by Angelina Herrera, The African Presence in Mexico, 2006.

Image 2-Romualdo Garcia (1852-1930) Untitled/Sin Titulo Ca. 1910, silver gelatin print from original negative 11"x14" , Collection of Museo

Reginal de Guanajuato

Alhondiga de Granadtias