Cinco de Mayo in NY provided some memorable opportunities for our family while also exposing to us Mexican culture.
Neurberger Museum and bartaco
Our first stop on the itinerary was to Neurberger Museum at Purchase College to see the Pre-Columbian Remix exhibit. We were kindly greeted at the entrance of the museum by the coordinators of the event. Wait…an event? I thought I was here for an exhibit and only an exhibit. Well, it just so happened that the museum was hosting Family First Saturdays which consists of a tour of the museum, a craft for kids along with a filling snack. To make matters better, on Family First Saturdays admission to the museum is free.
While my son molded clay aliens and space craft, I decided to dip out and see the Pre-Columbia Remix exhibit which was fantastically intriguing and equally controversial. This explains why the kiddos museum tour stopped shortly after the Goofy and Pluto totem pole. The artwork of 3 Mexican born artists (Enrique Chagoya, Demián Flores and Rubén Ortiz-Torres) were on display in a back gallery. Nadín Ospina is a Columbian born artist and his work consisted of the sculptures fusing cartoon characters with Pre-Columbian icons that my son and I so enjoyed.
One of my favorite works in the exhibit was Self-Defense by artist Demián Flores. It was a great and simple message about modern day politics depicted by Pre-Columbian icons with contemporary images of people.
Enrique Chagoya, for me, had one of the most complex messages to decode in his artwork. In fact, his exhibit The Misadventures of Romantic Cannibals has been discussed at length due to its controversial depictions of Jesus. The rather obscene image is meant to criticize sexual abuse within the Catholic church.
Rubén Ortiz-Torres’s work consisted of photographs of Pre-Columbian icons situated in contemporary settings. Some photos were nostalgic for me, namely the reproduced Aztec pyramid with a water slide down the middle.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Pre-Columbian Remix exhibit! It’s up until July 14th so you still have time to visit.
Next, we headed to bartaco for lunch and Westchester Foodie said it right when he described the restaurant as “cool”. No worries though, bartaco is still kid-friendly with fun outdoor seating overlooking the water. The food was great and the prices were very reasonable. If you go, you must try the duck and red snapper a la pancha tacos.
Mexico at Home
For our at home activities, my son and I completed the sombrero craft (thanks Kaboose!) while Mariachi music played in the background. It was great to expose my son to different types of music. He now has an appreciation for the violin which traditional classical music didn’t provide for him.
Next, we enjoyed our Mexican feast of chicken tacos, Mexican rice and fried sweet platanos (recipes can be found here). Everything was amazing! The dishes had my family thanking me repeatedly for coming up the idea of Culture Weekends!
To cap off the night, I watched the PBS Independent Lens documentary, The Undocumented. This is a moving film that chronicles the risky process undocumented Mexican migrants take to come to America. If you’ve ever taken for granted the opportunities American citizenship affords, as I’ve admittedly done in the past, watch this film. It gives you a great appreciation of what you have in America and compassion for the many who risk their lives to be in this great country.