Artbound's editorial team has reviewed and rated the most compelling weekly articles. After putting two articles up for a vote, the audience chose this article to be made into a short-format documentary.
The works of Nery Gabriel Lemus illuminate the fractures incurred from cultural collisions. Informed by his childhood shuttling between a predominantly Latino urban neighborhood to suburban Granada Hills, in a bus full of Latinos and African Americans, Lemus's work gracefully exposes the subtle racial tensions between two cultures.
"There were hardly any African American families living [in my neighborhood]. Maybe one," recalls the artist, in his Altadena studio dominated by comic figures, books, magazines. His neighborhood's relative isolation allowed bias to reign undisputed; only when the artist cultivated friendships with African Americans, while at art school, did he come to understand the cultural schism between these Los Angeles populations. In today's Los Angeles, African Americans are still a minority making up 9 percent of the population versus 48 percent of Latinos, based on 2011 Census figures. In "Black is Brown and Brown is Beautiful," a series of paintings feature pastel-colored texts juxtaposed with hand drawn backgrounds to soften a hard-hitting message.