Luis González Palma. El árbol, 1993

Luis González Palma. El árbol, 1993. Image and data from Lehigh University Art Galleries Permanent Collection.

When tasked with explaining my cultural heritage I feel a mixture of excitement and trepidation; the term “Hispanic” captures such a wide spectrum of people and cultures. Plus, in a year of high racial tensions and unrest I worry that I am not being sensitive or inclusive to all my brown and black brothers and sisters.

R. Dundin, Women painting "Viva Puerto Rico" mural, Albany Avenue, Hartford, 1975
R. Dundin, Women painting "Viva Puerto Rico" mural, Albany Avenue, Hartford, 1975. Image and data from Trinity College Library Hartford Collection
Luis González Palma, Time Out, 2000
Luis González Palma, Time Out, 2000. Image and data from Lehigh University Art Galleries Permanent Collection
Leonard J. Currie, Clothing vendor, Guatemala (?), 1975
Leonard J. Currie, Clothing vendor, Guatemala (?), 1975. Image and data from Virginia Tech - L.J. Currie Slides
Anaglyph of "Delicious Pineapples in the Fields of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico." 2015.
Anaglyph of "Delicious Pineapples in the Fields of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico." 2015. Image and data from Wofford College: Stereographs in Special Collections

As a Chicana, I loathe having my heritage summed up in tacos, sombreros, and mustaches, so for this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration I decided to delve into our open collections and find images that I felt capture some of the beautiful diversity, creativity, and uniqueness in our many heritages, not just my own.

Daysi García, Day of Solidarity with the Afro-American People/ August 18. 1969
Daysi García, Day of Solidarity with the Afro-American People/ August 18. 1969. Image and data from Wofford College: The Lindsay Webster Collection of Cuban Posters
Mexican dressmakers on strike against Dorothy Frocks Co. visit Myrle Zappane
Mexican dressmakers on strike against Dorothy Frocks Co. visit Myrle Zappane, who was detained in the city jail after being convicted of violating harsh injunctions granted to the company by the Fourth Court of Civil Appeals. Image and data from Cornell: International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Photographs
Paul Valadez, Abuela, 2010
Paul Valadez, Abuela, 2010. Image and data from Wofford College: Fine Arts Collection
Santiago Armengod, Alto Criminalizacion Migrantes -- With Or Without Papers, 2013
Santiago Armengod, Alto Criminalizacion Migrantes -- With Or Without Papers, 2013. Courtesy of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery. Image and data from St. Lawrence University: Street Art Graphics

These images inspired me to learn more about these amazing cultures. I feel too often the representation of Hispanic heritage is often framed in a negative or patronizing way, but these images highlight the incredible diversity and art that each of these communities create — something worthy of celebration.

– Dani Esquivel, ITHAKA Exhibits & Events Senior Specialist

The selections in this post come from Lehigh University Art Galleries Permanent Collection, Trinity College Library Hartford Collection, Virginia Tech – L.J. Currie Slides, Wofford College: Stereographs in Special Collections, Wofford College: The Lindsay Webster Collection of Cuban Posters, Cornell: International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union Photographs, Wofford College: Fine Arts Collection, and St. Lawrence University: Street Art Graphics.

Ready for more? Check out Teaching Hispanic Heritage Month with Artstor and explore 11 open collections perfect for Hispanic Heritage Month