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On View: A Collection of photographs from David Camarena.

  • 12:00 am - 12:00 am | Wednesday November 03, 2021
  • Lobby | Ace Hotel Los Angeles

Ace is proud to host a collection of photographs from photographer, Daivd Camarena, in celebration of the GuadaLAjara Film Festival. David’s photos, curated in collaboration with Shelley Holcomb, will be displayed in the lobby halls of Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles from November 3-6.

Download the festival program.

@glafilmfest @davidcamarena @shelleyhol

The GuadaLAjara Film Festival is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Los Angeles-based artist David Camarena. Curated by Shelley Holcomb, the works are on view at The Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, opening Thursday, November 3, 2021. This is Camarena’s first solo exhibition of photographs shown in Los Angeles and will be on view in conjunction with the festival through November 6, 2021.

David Camarena (b 1993, Bay Area, CA) is a Mexican American photographer, editor, and director born and bred in Northern, CA. Inspired by his Mexican roots, community and idiosyncrasy, his body of photographs span years of documentation, candid moments, and a view into the landscape of Latinidad both in California and Mexico. The photographs we see in this exhibition provide quite literally a lens to view not only Los Angeles, its car culture, or the ways in which Mexican Americans live their everyday lives here, but to the ways all three of these themes are so closely intertwined within each other.

Los Angeles is widely recognized as the capital of car culture, where cars, for better or for worse, are central to life. The culture is sewn into the fabric of how this city operates, so much so that it dictates the way most of us interact with our environment here. Car culture is just as equally sewn into the fabric of Mexican American culture in Los Angeles, tracing back to the 1920s, where to many Mexican communities of Southern California automobiles were a symbolic sense of freedom used to traverse the uncertain economic and social circumstances they had been dealt. Much like the photos we see in this exhibition of David Camarena, one can also see this cultural symbolism that car ownership served in Mexican American families historically through archival photos that have been collected and preserved. These archival photos often portray the ways Mexican American people saw themselves, positioned with vehicles in their everyday lives or cherished life milestones, pointing towards the unique role vehicles play in conveying immigrants’ experiences in the United States.

The works in this exhibition are all either taken either from a car, of a car, or both at the same time. We see this in the piece “Burning Car”, which shows a vehicle stranded and on fire in the middle of a Los Angeles Freeway, snapped by Camarena from his car window, signifying this inherent relationship one has with their vehicle and being in transit in Los Angeles. Also taken from Camarena’s car, “Bus Stop Lincoln Heights” shows someone sitting by themselves at a bus stop at night. It is anyone’s guess to whether this person is waiting for the next bus or just resting in transit. “Elysian Park Cruise” shows a solemn car sitting alone at the top of Elysian Park, a popular spot where most go for the view or for the solitude. “Downtown Broadway”, again taken from Camarena’s car window, shows an old man pushing paletas in the crosswalk, a seemingly timeless photo that could have been taken in the year 2020 or 1920 when cars were first being produced in droves at the
start of the century and when Los Angeles was starting to come into its own as an automobile city.

And lastly, the poster art for the festival encapsulates what a day might look like traveling from the east side to the west side on a weekend in Los Angeles. We start with “Elysian Park Sunday” where we see a sunny day with lowriders, palm trees, a large, waving Mexican flag, and a couple of men admiring the cars around them. We cross “Colorado St. Bridge” a bridge that connects the east side neighborhood of Lincoln Heights to Downtown Los Angeles. We then arrive at “Beach Day”, a sunset view of families enjoying themselves on the famous beaches of the City of Angels.

The Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) is considered one of the most important showcases for the appreciation, promotion and distribution of Mexican and Ibero-American cinema. FICG has taken place annually in the city of Guadalajara – the capital city of Jalisco, Mexico – since 1986, where it was originally started by a group of students from the University of Guadalajara. Since then, it has grown to become the largest film showcase in all of Latin America. FICG in LA transforms itself and becomes GuadaLAjara Film Festival in honor of the two cities that have seen it grow. The festival’s mission is to show the best of Latin cinema and it’s creators, in order to cultivate relationships for a borderless industry, becoming the bridge that maintains the heritage’s roots and customs from each of the nations involved.

Shelley Holcomb is an artist, curator, and active member of the Los Angeles arts community. She is CEO and Creative Director of Curate LA and co-host of a monthly radio show on NTS, called Whits & Giggles. She holds a Painting BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design. Holcomb’s art has been exhibited in multiple institutions including the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, NC, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, CA, the Jepson Center in Savannah, GA, Attleboro Arts Museum, and Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills.

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