Dichos: Words to Live, Love and Laugh By in Latin America
The exhibit Dichos: Words to Live, Love and Laugh By in Latin America will be on display starting Saturday, May 16, in the East Mezzanine of the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Truck and bus drivers in many parts of Latin America take great delight in inscribing dichos, a saying, proverb, or amusing expression, on the bumpers and other surfaces of their vehicles as a way of conveying their personal feelings and worldviews to a broad audience. Dichos, hand painted by amateurs or professionals in an endless variety of graphic styles and colors, address subjects ranging from religion and love, to puns and earthy humor. The lively quality of the lettering and bright colors, combined with the messages themselves, present a wonderful form of folk art. Unfortunately, with the emergence of corporate trucking, this vibrant tradition is gradually disappearing.
In Dichos, The Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) offers an engaging look at this endangered tradition. The exhibit draws from the private collection of Grant La Farge of Santa Fe, New Mexico. For more than a decade, La Farge braved encounters with suspicious drivers at truck stops across Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Guatamala, and Panama to document the many variations of the dichos tradition.
The story of dichos is told through color photographs accompanied by select miniature dichos-laden vehicles. This exhibition is a colorful exploration of a Latin American folk art that was meant to be seen and read on the road.
The exhibit remains on display through June 21. It is a program of Exhibits USA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, with the Missouri Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.