June 11, 2021


A first-of-its-kind exhibition showcasing the diversity of art being created in Southern Arizona. (9:24)
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A first-of-its-kind exhibition is coming to the Tucson Museum of Art -- showcasing the diversity of art being created in Southern Arizona. Work from local artists Willie J. Bonner, Nazafarin Lotfi, Alejandro Macias, and Anh-Thuy Nguyen delves into personal identity, politics, and regional social issues. Their artwork will be on display at the museum until September 26, 2021. Look for extended radio versions of these conversations in upcoming episodes of Arizona Spotlight on NPR 89.1.

Producer: Andrew Brown
Videographers: Nate Huffman, Jordan Chin, John DeSoto
Editor: Mya Long

Special Bonus Content

4x4: A Conversation Between Artist Willie J. Bonner & Curator Julie Sasse

"A lot of people like to associate me as a Black artist. Black is my culture. But I am American," says Willie J. Bonner. Tucson Museum of Art Chief Curator, Julie Sasse speaks with Bonner about how his paintings represent the layers of humanity. "When I'm painting, I'm just gaging the sensibility of being human," he says. Bonner's artwork inspired the 4x4 exhibition.

4x4: A Conversation Between Artist Nazafarin Lotfi & Curator Jeremy Mikolajczak

Iranian-American artist, Nazafarin Lotfi speaks with museum director and exhibition curator, Jeremy Mikolajczak about representation in art. "I don't have a very strong sense of place usually," Lotfi says. "I've been trying very hard to make connections to Tucson, particularly." Lotfi explores how she, as an immigrant and a brown body, fits in within the place and politics of the Southwest, and how the experience has shaped her art and practice.

4x4: A Conversation Between Artist Anh-Thuy Nguyen & Curator Marianna Pegno

From photography, to video, to performances and installation art, Nguyen's focus is on the experience of being an immigrant - the personal politics and cultural differences. Nguyen talks to curator Marianna Pegno, Curator of Community Engagement at the Tucson Museum of Art about the ten-year body of work on display within the space. "It's all about the struggle and conversation I had with myself," Nguyen says. One of the pieces in the exhibit was created earlier this year while the U.S. witnessed a rise in hate and violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

4x4: A Conversation Between Artist Alejandro Macias & Curator Kristopher Driggers

Alejandro Macias moved from South Texas to Southern Arizona and the 4x4 exhibit is his Tucson debut. His work often features brightly colored portraits with visual divides. The division serves as a metaphor for cultural assimilation. Macias says that the work is critical of assimilation as an erasure of history and culture, but also celebratory of dual representation. He speaks with curator, Kristopher Driggers, Assistant Curator, Schmidt Curator of Latin American Art about the role of visual art in conversations about how we relate to the places where we live.

NOTE: Tune in to Arizona Spotlight on NPR 89.1, Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. to hear extended versions of these conversations throughout the month of June.
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