Cinco de Mayo panel, 2014
paint pens, sheets, electrical tape
St. Louis, MO
collaboration with Andy Mullenix and Erik Garcia
Cherokee Street in St. Louis, MO hosts one of the midwest's largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations, right in the heart of a latino neighborhood. In recent years the neighborhood has changed, bringing in young, creative types that have brought with them a differet flavor of businesses, culture, and housing prices. In so many words, part of this neighborhood is gentrifying. I wanted to explore what the celebration of Cinco de Mayo overtaking Cherokee street communicated about the evolving neighborhood.
Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico, but has become more of a Mexican-American holday, or, arguably, an American holiday. Many Americans attend these celebratoins, not to learn about history or culture, but honestly, to #getwasted. How many people who attend the celebration actually learn about what Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates?
The 3-day piece was installed on May 5th, hung amidst the celebration and written in Spanish, mainly for the Spanish-speaking community (myself and Garcia speak Spanish, Garcia's family native to Mexico). For the remaining two days, words we Xed out until the sign eventually read "lo que dejan".
English translation of 3-signs:
Day 1 "History is what strangers leave behind"
Day 2 "What strangers leave behind"
Day 3 "What's left behind"
These 3-day Cinco de Mayo panels are a performative commentary on history--who has the power to write it?--, on the literal mess leftover from the city-wide holiday, and on a gentrifying neighborhood.