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Painter Heriberto Luna updates pre-Colombian imagery at The Doyle starting May 3, 2022

"The Cosmic Bloom" by Heriberto Luna, 2022, acrylic on wood panel. Image courtesy of Orange Coast College.
“The Cosmic Bloom” by Heriberto Luna, 2022, acrylic on wood panel. Image courtesy of Orange Coast College.

A thought-provoking exhibition that focuses on a significant motif in Heriberto Luna’s paintings – cosmic hummingbirds – will be on display at Orange Coast College’s Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion from May 3 to 12. Luna’s use of the hummingbird images references ancient Aztecs, who believed that hummingbirds were the reincarnation of fallen warriors. When a warrior was killed in battle, he would return to Earth as a hummingbird.

Titled “Guerreros Celestiales (Interdimensional Spiritual Beings): Paintings by Heriberto Luna,” and curated by Eric Cuellar, coordinator of Orange Coast College’s Counseling [email protected] for Equity & Engagement Program (CLEEO), the exhibition includes paintings created over the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. Luna states that “by embellishing pre-Columbian, Aztec and Mayan imagery with contemporary and cosmic elements, I strive to embody the intersection of history, in all its depth and beauty, with the contexts of this era.”

“I have invited Heriberto Luna on several occasions to be part of past CLEEO events, so I’m thrilled to to collaborate with the campus’ Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion by presenting an exhibition of his works for all the students to see,” says Cuellar.

Heriberto Luna will also be a juror for the “2022 Mass Appeal Student Juried Exhibition” which will be on view concurrently. “The collaboration with CLEEO is an important one at this juncture in OCC’s history, as it reinforces OCC President Angelica Suarez’s Diverisity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives,” says Tyler Stallings, director of the The Doyle.

Born in Mexico City in 1976, Heriberto Luna immigrated to the United States one year later. His grandfather was one of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata’s soldiers, and his father was in the Mexican army. His grandmother was a Mayan shaman, fluent in two indigenous languages. While in his teens, he developed his artistic skills, combined with his passion for performing Aztec dancing. Later, he apprenticed on major mural projects with L.A.’s influential muralist team—East Los Streetscapers, Since that time, according to Luna, he has exhibited in over fifty museums such as the Santa Monica Museum of Art, The National Mexican Fine art Museum in Illinois and The Museum of History and Art in Ontario, California. Luna has also been awarded two artist-in-residence grants from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs department. As his art career continues to bloom, Luna remains dedicated to under privilege youths. He is currently teaching arts classes for Theatre of Hearts and serves as a mentor.

Related events at The Doyle on Thursday, May 5: artist-led exhibition tour, 12:15–1 p.m., followed by an evening reception, 5-7 p.m. Admission to all events is free. Concurrent exhibition at The Doyle includes “2022 Mass Appeal Juried Student Exhibition,” from May 3 to 12. Please check the gallery website for any change in schedule due to evolving COVID-19 restrictions.

The exhibition reception on May 5th is in recognition of Cinco de Mayo, which is an annual celebration held on May 5, which commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. More popular in the United States than in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture.

The OCC CLEEO Project has a commitment to promote [email protected] access and success in higher education in an equitable and culturally supportive environment. The CLEEO Project’s focus is on developing an educational pathway for college students with an emphasis on the successful development of life skills and the attainment of Associate and Bachelor degrees and beyond toward a Post-Graduate education.

The Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion at Orange Coast College focuses on contemporary visual culture and creates dynamic programming that inspires interaction and dialogue between artists, students, scholars, and local and international communities.

Admission is free for all exhibitions. Modified gallery hours, spring 2022: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. For spring 2022, the gallery is closed on Mondays, Fridays and school holidays. Please check the gallery website for any change in schedule due to evolving COVID-19 restrictions. The Doyle is located next to OCC’s Parking Lot D, off Merrimac Way, building 180, between Starbucks and the Art Center classrooms. For additional information, call (714) 432-5738, or visit The Doyle website. Masks are required indoors per Coast Community College District guidelines.

This article was released by Orange Coast College.