August 24, 2024

Artepaño: Chicano Prisoner Kerchief Art

August 24, 2024 - February 1, 2025

Artepaño: Chicano Prisoner Kerchief Art features fifty artworks by Latinx artists working in the context of the American penal system. A paño is a standard fifteen by fifteen-inch cotton handkerchief transformed into a work of art by prisoners that alternatively self-identify as Chicano, Mexican-American, Latino, and/or Hispanic. The artists also self-identify alternately as inmates, convicts, and/or Pintos. Artworks range from saccharine valentines to chilling threats and grand biographical narratives.

The Artepaño: Chicano Prisoner Kerchief Art exhibition presents a thorough sampling of the distinctive styles found in paño art. The majority of works come from the private collection of Mr. Leplat-Torti, who has one of the largest collections of paño art in the world. Additionally works of art come from the collection of the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University.

The Artepaño: Chicano Prisoner Kerchief Art exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog with illustrations of every paño featured in the exhibition with annotations by curator Dr. Álvaro Ibarra. The publication will also feature an essay by renowned scholar Ben V. Olguin. Dr. Olguin’s essay explores the complex social and economic factors surrounding the development of the artepaño tradition. Additionally, the catalog will include an interview with Mr. Leplat-Torti concerning his journey as a paño collector and as an advocate for prison rehabilitation programs and prisoner rights.

Artepaño/Kerchief Art presents fifty paños from various collections and is the largest and most diverse artepaño exhibition to date. The exhibition is curated by Álvaro Ibarra, Ph.D.