Collection: Jhovany De Ala: Our Ancestors are Calling Us Solo Exhibition

Anno Domini
// the second coming of Art & Design is proud to present...

Our Ancestors are Calling Us
Jhovany De Ala (Oakland, CA) solo exhibition

When one creates, we do so in conversation with our ancestors. The heritage that we carry in our minds and bodies is reflected in our language and in art. We are shaped by what we have learned from history and from the voices of our grandmothers and grandfathers.

Our Ancestors Are Calling Us is a graphic display that highlights a part of our original culture. For the ancestors, the portraits, the animal world, and the universe of medicinal plants were part of a whole. The images that make up this exhibition honor that universe.

Through these images, I create a process between balance and spirituality. At the same time, I want to provide space to honor the beliefs and traditions that still thrive in our indigenous communities. These are represented as tributes in images that emerge from my imagination.

Our Ancestors Are Calling Us also issues an urgent call to rediscover the nature of which we are a part, urging us to care for it, respect it, and live well.

Nature lives in us; however, we often forget to live in harmony and respect with it. This oversight is a consequence of living in large cities surrounded by vehicles, skyscrapers, and submerged in gray skies. In such environments, time becomes of the essence, and the speed of life becomes absorbed by the demands of production and consumption. Consequently, we fail to make time to rediscover ourselves or to listen to others.

Our Ancestors Are Calling Us is a series of woodcut prints and mixed media paintings that reminds us of the power of ancestral connection and nature to guide us towards a more balanced and meaningful existence.

Jhovany De Ala (b. 1984), the visionary force behind Ocelote Press, is a self-taught artist originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca is well known for its artistic tradition in clay, textiles, paintings, printmaking, and–as Jhovany discovered at the age of 16–graffiti and street art. His years as a graffiti artist (which was considered highly rebellious and illegal at the time) greatly impacted his thinking on the possibilities of different forms of art, and his belief that art should remain free from gatekeepers, and it should consistently shift and grow to encompass all forms of expression, regardless of their origin.

Jhovany De Ala’s images are inspired by Mexican folk art and dives deep into Mexico’s history. He weaves in pre-colonial spirituality and harmony, while also reclaiming a legacy for his ancestors in the present day through his work. Creating from this space connects him to new dimensions and times which he represents through his wood cut prints and paintings.

In 2004 De Ala immigrated to San Francisco; always inspired by the legacy of artists and political movements, influencing the power of his work to build strong connections with each other as a collective. De Ala currently lives and works in Oakland, California.

Exhibition dates: September 1–October 16, 2023