Forging Territories: Queer Afro and Latinx Contemporary Art


Jun 30, 2019 to Nov 3, 2019
12:00 PM until 05:00 PM


As part of an ongoing pursuit of social justice and in response to today’s cultural climate, San Diego Art Institute (SDAI) in Balboa Park will debut its newest art exhibit Forging Territories: Queer Afro and Latinx Contemporary Art on Saturday, June 29 and continue to share this unprecedented installment through November 3, 2019.

This thought-provoking exhibit is among the first of its kind to explore and highlight conversations around underrepresented African American and Latinx artists identifying as LGBTQ. Purposefully launching during PRIDE Month and only one day after the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising—considered the seminal event leading to the modern LGBTQ movement—Forging Territories will showcase rarely-told stories of personal and cultural awakening through artists’ responses to sense of identity and place, the influence of the current political moment and the comfort of shared background, language and history.


Forging Territories is curated by Rubén Esparza, founder and director of the Queer Biennial, an international art fair anchored in Los Angeles with satellites in New York, Mexico, Miami, Paris and Zurich. Says Esparza: “Through Forging Territories we will be able to tell a much fuller story of voices that are not as frequently heard within the world of art and culture.”

This exhibit will bring together twenty legacy, established, mid-career and emerging contemporary artists—all who live within the region—who work in such varied mediums as painting, drawing, photography, film and performance. Examples of the featured artists are:


  • Photographer Laura Aguilar, included in the Venice Biennial and the permanent collection of the New Museum in New York City;
  • Painter and printmaker Carlos Almaraz, the subject of a recent retrospective at LACMA and included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum;
  • Performance artist Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter;
  • Photographer Texas Isaiah, shown at The Studio Museum in Harlem and The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and hailed as one of Time’s 12 African American Photogaphers You Should Follow Right Now (alongside Forging Territories artist Devin Morris)
  • Photographer Paul Mpagi Sepuya, included in this year’s Whitney Biennial; and
  • Visual artist dana washington, a rising Southern California artist and 2020 MFA student at UCSD


Forging Territories opens to the public on Saturday, June 29 with an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. and will then be open Tuesday through Sunday between 12 and 5 p.m. through November 3. Admission is $5 per guest ($3 for military, seniors and students; free for ages 12 and under); and free to everyone on the fourth Tuesday and Saturday of each month. Docents are available to conduct tours every Wednesday and Saturday between 1 and 3 p.m. Private visits and tours are available by appointment. Learn more at

About the San Diego Art Institute: First organized in 1941, the San Diego Art Institute (SDAI) has evolved into San Diego’s premier contemporary art center focusing on regional art and artists. The non-profit organization actively supports established and rising talent, builds audiences for regional contemporary art and makes cultural equity and social justice a priority in all that it does. Located within an 8,000 square foot space in Balboa Park adjacent to the Mingei Museum, SDAI serves nearly 100,000 artists, youth and visitors annually. As the only contemporary arts institution its region, SDAI is a catalyst for advancing important regional art and artists and serves as platform for artistic visions and voices. Discover San Diego Art Institute at 1439 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101, online at and on Instagram at @SanDiegoArtInstitute.


About Ruben Esparza: Ruben Esparza, curator of Forging Territories, is a California artist whose internationally recognized practice includes painting as well as analog and digital work. He is particularly influenced by queer culture and is the founder and director of the Queer Biennial, an international art fair anchored in Los Angeles with satellites in New York, Mexico, Miami, Paris and Zurich. Learn more at and connect at @Ruben__Esparza.




View map San Diego Art Institute
1439 El Prado
San Diego, CA

Additional Information


Contour PR



Contact name


Contact email

We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.