Roberto Salas

(USA, 1955)

San Diego-based artist Roberto Salas created an installation titled Los vendedores de Tijuana. Drawing from his own experience of selling a variety of things as a child, Salas made a selection of the traditional items one would find being offered while waiting to cross the border from Mexico to the United states. Anyone having been through that experience will know that vendors roam the rows of cars with all their wares draped across their bodies, stacked on their heads, or filling their arms. Salas chose to use the seemingly endless plaster cast figures made to appeal to American tourists, such as Mickey Mouse, skulls, hamburgers, Madonnas, Ninja Turtles, and so on, to create what he referred to as “monumental shamans of kitsch.”

Organizer: Kruglak Gallery, MiraCosta College
Curator: Leslie Nemour
Venue: Kruglak Gallery, MiraCosta College, Oceanside

For his INSITE97 Community Engagement project, San Diego artist Roberto Salas collaborated with artists in Tijuana and San Diego as well as San Diego students to create a piñata installation at the Centro Cultural de la Raza. Salas designed the piñatas in reference to his perceptions of traditional, popular, and personal iconography and allowed the artists to incorporate their own perspectives as the piñatas were fabricated. With bold colors and unusual imagery, Piñatas encantadas visually reinterpreted the traditional Mexican piñata while celebrating its history and mythology. As part of the installation, the piñata blueprints were displayed, and students painted a mural that echoed themes from the piñatas.

Project director: Luis Stand
Venue: Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego