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TO NOVEMBER 18
Leave it to a bunch of artists to take a loaded question and point it right back at you. But I left this Charles Sumner School Museum show feeling pleasantly confundido. Sponsored by the D.C.-based National Latina Women’s Council, the juried exhibit weaves its rhetorical riddle through the work of 13 local artists—who hail from a dozen Latin nations—as they blend oils, mixed media, and acrylics with memories, passions, and politics. Accompanying responses to the question, “How does your art reflect your traditions or cultural heritage?” add another layer: Andres Tremols, a child of Cuban exiles, happily explores his family’s journey and his own footing, writing, “I grew up all around Cuba—west of Cuba, southeast, southwest, and north…” His five canvases, simple and evocative oils of chairs (pictured is Equilibrio #II), reflect a 1993 visit to Cuba, where he saw “many people…sitting, resting, waiting.” Paris Bustillos, meanwhile, gives life to the notion of growing up in post-Franco Spain—”a great time for new ideas and a resurrection of old ones”—in his oil Solar System Hypocanthus. And I nearly fell into Andrea Rondini’s tiny oil painting called Las Puertas: She may have been thinking of her native Uruguay, but the four doors—pastel blue, teal, yellow, and solid mahogany—against the discolored concrete facade and the high curb are right out of my grandmother’s Santo Domingo esquina. Until I hear different, Rondini’s casa is mi casa. At the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, 1201 17th St. NW. (202) 727-3419. (Tom Stabile)