Fotos y Recuerdos: Guatemala in Los Ángeles

May 25 - July 20, 2024

Fotos y Recuerdos: Guatemala in Los Ángeles, presented by OXY ARTS and Las Fotos Project, explores the importance of community image making and archives. The exhibition features over 100 personal photographs submitted by community members who are part of the Guatemalan diaspora in Los Angeles, the largest community of its kind outside of Guatemala. Alongside the community archive are original photographs, personal family archives and installations by Michelle Montenegro, an LA based Guatemalan American photographer and Las Fotos alumni and mentor. Together these works document diverse stories, touching on themes of migration, historical contexts, community preservation practices, and the power of storytelling.

Images in the exhibition range from family portraits taken in photo studios, to government IDs to snapshots from family gatherings. By presenting these varied archival submissions from Guatemalans in LA, the exhibition showcases how engaging with preservation in a way that highlights historical and social contexts allows many communities of color to reclaim often forgotten or destroyed histories and stories that make up their distinct identities. 

The Guatemalan diaspora in LA does not belong to a monolithic story. However, individual experiences of those making home in LA are undeniably interconnected–each an extension of the other. The collection of photographs, objects, and archives brings feelings of comfort and familiarity to the Guatemalan diaspora in LA, but also reminds us of our power as a collective, in solidarity, despite our individual, sometimes disparate, struggles.

Fotos y Recuerdos: Guatemala in Los Ángeles is presented as part of OXY ARTS' residency program, where we partner with artists and arts organizations across Los Angeles to uplift their work and mission. Las Fotos Project elevates the voices of teenage girls & gender-expansive youth from communities of color through photography and mentoring. The exhibition marks Michelle Montenegro’s first solo-presentation of work and first curatorial project at this scale, showcasing her individual work as well as creating a platform for her to present the ongoing archival project in collaboration with Las Fotos Project. 

Grateful for the meaningful contributions to this archive from the following individuals: Alba Gabriela Hernández, Ariadne Makridakis Arroyo, Ashley Estrada, Aylin Gonzalez, Bayron Perez, Deanna Barahona, Debbie Miranda, Emely Guevara, Emely Hernandez-Vega, Emijoy Victoria Mejia, Emily Castro, Evelyn Sagastume, Gabriela Alaniz & Violeta Hernandez, Guatemaya L.A. Mujeres en Resistencia (Victor Interiano of Dichos de un bicho), Gustavo Adolfo Guerra Vásquez, Jeanette Ponce, Jennifer Cabrera, Jennifer Guzman, Joselin Medina, Josue Monterroso, Julian Montenegro, Karla Alvarado Goldberg, Katherine Monterroso, Kimberly Alvarado, Kiria Fuentes Godinez, Stephen & Paul Charouhas, Luis Lopez, Mara Mark, Maria Belen Rodriguez, Max Christopher Gomez Diaz, Mayán Alvarado Goldberg, Miguel Arroyo, Mileena Sosa, Nuria Gordillo (Familia Gordillo Santizo), Romario Cruz, Socorro Galindo, Sonia & Walter Guevara, Steph Maldonado, Suany Quinonez, Vanessa Tahay, Yenis Gonzalez, and Zully Juarez & Emaly Escobar.

Fotos y Recuerdos: Guatemala Los Ángeles and related programming are generously funded by the Mellon Foundation. 

Works by Michelle Montenegro printed in Los Angeles at Epilogue Inc. @epilogueinc