Clean Hands | Benjamin Muñoz | Site 2 | Love Texas Art : Opening Reception: May 13, 2023 6-9pm
Clean Hands | Benjamin Muñoz
SITE 2 at LOVE TEXAS ART
501 Houston Street, Fort Worth, Texas, 76102
In his latest body of work, Benjamin Muñoz redefines power by celebrating the Chicano people's resilience, strength, and ambition. Through vibrant, textured backgrounds and iconic Calavera figures, Muñoz honors the endeavors of past generations, shifting the narrative and empowering Chicano culture. Drawing on the rich Chicano culture of his upbringing, Muñoz's work captures the spirit of inter-generational labor and the triumphs of the Chicano community.
As a second-generation Mexican immigrant, Muñoz grew up in Texas, immersed in the region's rich Chicano culture. The title of the exhibition, "Clean Hands," refers to a conversation Muñoz had with a group of fellow artists, each a descendant of immigrants from Mexico. They discussed their family histories, revealing that physical labor played a significant role in their lives. Their fathers and grandfathers worked in construction, mechanics, oil fields, and other skilled labor jobs. Although these friends recognized the value and honor of such work, they admitted that they would not want to follow the same path. Their "clean hands" symbolize the opportunities and experiences afforded to them because of their families' sacrifices and determination.
The figures and stories in Muñoz's new ambitious body of work (spanning two sites throughout the course of the exhibition) are triumphant celebrations – a love letter to his culture. Muñoz says, “I wanted to make work that told the story of how powerful we are as a race and as a people. I think it is okay to take a breath and look back at what we’ve done, then go right back to fighting for more.”