VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2, MARCH 2006



Sylvia Curtis-Noircross and Gerald Pedros
Enduring Women/Veils of Secrecy
September 2, 2006 - October 7, 2006
Woodstock Art Gallery
447 Hunter Street
 Woodstock, Ontario

Alberto Cerritos exhibits in Madrid Spain.

G. Scott MacLeod “Stars to watch” Vancouver Sun article

La Raza exhibits Pouch Cove work at the Thielsen Gallery.
La Raza Group East (Francis Caprani, Scott MacLeod and Gerald Pedros) will be exhibiting their works from their Pouch Cove residency at the Jens Thielsen Gallery from April 1st to 22nd, 2006.

La Raza Group website and newsletter launch March 24th, 2006 at the McAuslan Visitor Centre.

La Raza Group will be launching their website and newsletter at the McAuslan Visitor Centre in Montreal, Friday, March 24th, 2006, 5 - 9 p.m. They will also take this opportunity to present information on their upcoming projects in Argentina and South Africa. On Saturday, March 25th, Toronto filmmaker Tom Tobin will be presenting his film "La Raza Group – Full Circle" at 7:00pm at the McAuslan Visitor Centre.  La Raza Group will use funds received from sales towards future travel projects.

La Raza Group goes to Buenos Aries, Argentina October 3 - 8,  2006

The next mural project came through invitation from a group of Argentine painters that we met at the COMAV Conference in Tlaxcala. We look forward to hearing more about this project as it develops. Raza East in Ontario is currently organizing a reciprocal invitation to South Western, Ontario.

La Raza Group initiates a mural project with South African artist
At the conference in Tlaxcala, La Raza Group met a Bantu artist Andrew Nhlangwini from Port Elizabeth. After some discussion they found more about Africa Post-Apartheid and the work he is doing on ancestral South African art, which is going towards his Phd. After several discussions they decided to initiate a project between South Africa and Canada. Raza West member Richard Tetrault has outlined the mural project as the following:

Murals Against Aids Now!

La Raza Group is excited to initiate an international project that will bring attention to the ongoing crisis of AIDS worldwide. Using mural painting as the primary means to stimulate discourse and awareness to the pandemic of AIDS, this project will originate with a series of collaborations between Africa and Canadian artists. Following is an outline of the primary points of this undertaking, along with a projected schedule and contacts.

The initial phase of Murals Against Aids Now!  will take place in South Africa, and will involve artists from that country working with visiting artists from La Raza Canada. Based on the belief that AIDS awareness is a vital link in confronting this pandemic, we propose a multi-faceted project to communicate these issues. Research, in the form of both interviews and dialogue, will provide the context for a series of murals that will not only memorialize the path of AIDS in Africa, but also will project messages of solidarity and affirmation. Through popular awareness of the issues, these murals will become conduits for further discussions.

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Mexican Public Art, Leading by Example
By: Guillaume Corpart Muller

Brush in hand, hundreds of artists from around the world gathered in Tlaxcala, Mexico, for a unique display of public art.

 It is no coincidence that COMAV’s Mural Symposium was held in Tlaxcala.  Located in the cradle of Mexican civilization, artistic skill sets in this region can be traced back generations and across families.  The strong arts culture seems to operate in a symbiotic relationship with native traditions, helping preserve the náhuatl tongue and the well being (and support from) the community. 

 Tlaxcala City has one of Mexico’s nicest zócalos (central plazas); setting the stage for hundreds of artists to gather for COMAV’s (World Council of Fine Arts) 2005 Mural Symposium.  Appropriately, inside the Palacio de Gobierno (on the north side of the zócalo) are more than 450 sq. meters of vivid murals depicting Tlaxcala’s history (
by Desiderio Hernandez Xochitiotzin).

Muralists from as far as South Africa, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Japan and Canada, joined spirits to bring to life Mexico’s largest display of public art.  In doing so, thousands of national and international tourists came to the city to see the displays and, more importantly, to meet the artists.   

The traffic played a key role in bringing visibility to the sponsors who helped make this event possible.  Led by Comex (Mexico’s leading paint manufacturer), not only did the sponsors receive unique visibility associated to the arts and culture, but were also given some of the works to commemorate the event. COMAV’s Mural Symposium also gave artists the opportunity to interact with one another and exchange ideas on future collaboration.  In fact, two concrete projects emerged from the reunion – reviving muralism events in Mar del Plata (Argentina) and in Johannesburg (South Africa) during the course of 2006-07. 

There is no doubt that fomenting cultural exchange through global events will continue to drive the development of modern public art.  

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La Raza Returns to Mexico City 17 years later - August 6 - 8, 2005

In August of 2005, La Raza Group was in Mexico City and Tlaxcala for a reunion and mural conference with one of our original La Raza Group counterparts, Alberto Cerritos. La Raza Group was originally founded from our experience in 1987 at La Sociedad Mexicana de Artes Plasticas in Mexico City. What ensued from this experience was a series of exchange exhibitions and residencies between El Salvadorian artist Alberto Ceritos and Mexican artist Roberto Ferryra. In Mexico City, Alberto and Roberto exposed us to murals by the Three Greats Siquieros, Orozco, and Rivera. During our time there we produced paintings and a mural for an exhibition at the artist cooperative
La Sociedad Mexicana de Artes Plasticas (S.O.M.A.R.T.) These exhibitions were attended by cultural attaches from Delegation de Quebec and The Canadian Embassy.

This time around, La Raza Group was picked up by our documentary photographer and "man on the ground" Guillaume Corpart-Muller. Guillaume is an x-pat Canadian working for a marketing company, Infoamericas and our most recent member of La Raza Group. With his help and driving experience, we managed to survive Mexico City driving and head back to the sites where we worked and exhibited in 1987!  We managed to return to San Angel to locate our old studio at (S.O.M.A.R.T.)  We discovered that the building had been taken over by the original owners and is now being used to sell Mexican traditional crafts, such as wooden crucifixes, ceremonial masks, paper maché figurines known as Carmelas (representing the Mexican fascination with death).

“Día de los Muertos” is a ceremony that deals with the deaths of loved ones in a form of jovial celebration. We northerners have a different take on death and this day of celebration, which is observed as “All Saints Day” and November 2 as “All Souls Day.” “Día de Los Muertos” is a mix of indigenous Aztec, Mayan and Roman Catholic traditions and beliefs originating in Mexico. “Day of the Dead” (November 2) in accordance with the mythology, is a time for the dead to cross the veil home from the otherworld, visiting loved ones, eating favorite foods left by the graveside and listening to music.

 Once we located our studio site our next destination was Insurentes, to see the Polyforum Siquieros. The Siqueiros Museum has one of the world’s largest painted murals called The March of Humanity. It was produced between 1965 and 1971. This museum is called the Siqueiros Cultural Polyforum and is a must-see with its 12-sided 360-degree structure of murals on the exterior and the interior of the building. His theme was to paint the progress of humanity from the distant oppressive past to a future of freedom and scientific progress. La Raza exhibited there in 1991 with our Totem de Piedra exhibition.

Many of the Mexican muralists held fast to their left-wing politics and used their murals to illustrate the demons of capitalism and values of socialism. This frequently caused trouble with the government and as result many served time for “the cause”.

Our next journey took us to Frida Kahlo’s house, the Casa Azul in Coyocan. It was a memorable experience as I walked amongst her paintings and personal effects in the ‘Blue House’. This was the building featured in Julie Traynor’s film Frida. I was struck by the incomplete painting of Stalin on Frida’s easel, followed by her famous bed with a fixed mirror above her so she could paint herself in bed on bad days (a result of complications she suffered in a bus accident earlier on in her life.)  Since the film, the site has been worked on considerably and is now a big tourist destination.

For 100 pesos an hour, a cab driver brought us to the pyramids at Teotihucan on the outskirts of Mexico City. Once at the site we bought ‘tourista’ sun hats and meandered through an excellent museum with site artifacts and walked to the impressive temple of the moon and sun pyramids.
The scale of the site requires a whole afternoon in order to take in the Pyramids of the Moon and Sun (the third largest pyramid in the world) and the Calle de los Muertos (Street of the Dead). It was originally 4km long and flanked by temples, palaces and platforms. There are also a few murals in the Palace of the Jaguars and the Palace of the Quetzal-butterfly. The Temple of Quetzalcoátl has a wonderful selection of sculptures. Gerald and I climbed the temple of the sun and met many people from all over the world, a memorable experience indeed. Here are some recommended sites.

Upon our return from Tlaxcala, Gerald and spent our last day i
n Mexico City at the Palacio Nacional ("Presidential Palace") to look at a series of large murals by Diego Rivera. This series of murals was his interpretation of Mexican history. The murals on the staircase were done in 1935 and the multiple panels in the four corridors are from 1943. Rivera was a committed ideologue and socialist and his politic is present in these works. He celebrates Mexico's pre-Columbian past, the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, the Mexican worker, among others. The work is a collision of signature Mexican muralist colour and national socialism poster art. A historically informative and narrative body of work, it is a must see and completely free. Guides are available in a variety of languages.




La Raza Group would like to present the Puentes Project to our readers. We look forward to working with them in the future.

Puentes: Closing the Gap is a  non-profit organization that seeks to provide street children with the opportunity to have a childhood.

Building Puentes

This program originally began in February, 2002, the result of a collaboration between six volunteers who worked in group homes for street children in Lima, Peru.  A small project housed underneath the umbrella of the Saranac Lake Rotary Foundation, Inc., we designed the program to financially assist already existing rehabilitation programs for street children.  Puentes: Closing the Gap seeks to fund projects that contribute to the well-being of these children – be it through extracurricular activities, birthday celebrations, or making the homes a nicer place to live.

And Closing Gaps

Fundraising is done primarily through the sale of Peruvian arts and crafts.  In that aspect, the program also serves as a cultural exchange: Introducing people to Peru through the beauty of its crafts while pointing to the ugliness of its poverty, and using the former to improve the latter. 

Consistent with the dual function of this program is its name.  Written in two languages, “Puentes”, or “Bridges”, illustrates its function as a type of cultural exchange between the two countries, whereas “Closing the Gap” reflects our intent to financially assist Peru’s street children to escape the poverty that overwhelms their country.

For further information please contact:  

You may also contact a member of the Board of Directors in your country:

Philippe Gouin
Brigid Shea
Sarah Howard
Robyn Stevenson
Rosari Arroyo Arnedo
United States
Joseph Donroe
Alexandra Vinograd


Scott and Gerald, PolyForum Siqueiros

Scott and Gerald at the old SOMART Studio,
San Angel

Standing at Frida Kahlo's House

"The March of Humanity", PolyForum Siqueiros

Bella Artes, Mexico City

PolyForum Siqueiros, Mexico City

In front of Mexican "Dia de los Muertos" Figurines

Murals at Mayan ruins at Caxcala

Diploma ceremony, University Tlaxcala

Gerald in front of the Diego Rivera Mural,
Presidential Palace

Scott and Gerald on the Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihucan

Gerald working in Zocalo, Tlaxcala

La Raza Group is:
East: G. Scott MacLeod, D. Gerald Pedros, Francis J. Caprani
West:  Alberto Cerritos, Richard Tetrault
South: Guillaume Corpart-Muller

For more information on La Raza Group,  go to
Newsletter design and editing by   CBCD