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Round Table Discussion: Nuestra "Calidad"

Saturday, April 7, 2018

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Exhibition on view from April 11 through May 13
The TransArt Foundation is open for viewing Wednesdays – Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

“Contemporary Casta Portraiture: Nuestra ‘Calidad’” by Delilah Montoya critiques as it mimics Casta imagery, Spanish colonial paintings of mixed-race families made to depict the complex hierarchies and representations of the social order of that era. Like Casta paintings, Montoya’s present-day portraits of Houston and New Mexico colonial families capture subjects among material objects. However, instead of using colonial labels like mulatto or mestizo to describe bloodlines, she presents their ethno-racial mixes by juxtaposing each family’s portrait with their unique DNA regional ancestry graph and a global map showing their 100,000 years migration. To complete the portrait, each family recorded a monologue about their DNA study and family history. The series manifests cultural and biological forms of hybridity in order to understand the impact of race and class distinctions on social, economic and aesthetic choices in the U.S. today. 

On April 7 at 7 p.m., Tomas Ybarra-Frausto will moderate a round table discussion featuring the artist and scholars Holly Barnet Sanchez, Mia Lopez and Surpik Angelini about their essays from the catalog for the exhibition, published by Arte Público Press.

This project is supported in part by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts and serves as the inspiration for Elia Arce’s CounterCurrent18 piece “Patronas y Conductas.” For more information and to reserve free tickets, visit

About the Artist
Chicana artist and UH Associate Professor of Art History Delilah Montoya blends influences from Aztec, Mexican and Spanish culture with her experience of the Southwest and contemporary American values. Her projects investigate cultural phenomena, often confronting and challenging viewers' assumptions, and explore the relationships that result from negotiating different strategies of understanding and representing the ways of life found in the Southwest. 

Montoya's work has traveled with the International Center for Photography exhibition "Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self" and "Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum." Her work is included in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institute, Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She received 2008 Artadia Award and was honor with Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship in 2009. Her gallery affiliations are Andrew Smith Gallery and Photographs Do Not Bend.

TransArt Foundation for Art and Anthropology, 1412 West Alabama St. Houston, Texas 77006
School of Art

Delilah Montoya, associate professor of art history