Roberto Lugo: Te traigo mi le lo lai – I bring you my joy
May 6 through September 26, 2021
Roberto Lugo has created a highly personal exploration of cultural identity by considering family, place, and legacy. Te traigo mi le lo lai – I bring you my joy celebrates the joys of making art while paying tribute to the artist’s Puerto Rican roots and features new work alongside work from his early career.
Inspired both by his family’s agricultural heritage and his own youth in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, Lugo examines the core ideals of resourcefulness and self-sufficiency shared by those living in both rural and urban settings. Lugo also recognized these qualities in Manchester, a postindustrial city in a largely rural state.
The artist’s work is inspired by urban graffiti and hip-hop culture. Lugo chose to display his art in conversation with objects from the museum’s collection that speak to traditional art-making in this region. These juxtapositions invite us to consider collecting, display, and how we attach aesthetic and sentimental value to objects.
All in-gallery interpretation for this exhibition is presented in English and Spanish.
About the artist
Roberto Lugo (b. 1981) is a Philadelphia-based potter, social activist, spoken word poet, and educator. Calling himself the “ghetto potter,” Lugo creates ceramics that subvert traditional forms and techniques by reimagining them with a 21st-century street sensibility inspired by urban graffiti and hip-hop culture. He directly engages with the legacy of fine porcelain prized by the elite by centering portraits of those whose faces, stories, and values have been historically absent on such luxury items – including himself and his family.
Lugo holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Pennsylvania State University. His work has been exhibited globally and is in the collections of museums throughout the United States. He has recently received a 2019 Pew Fellowship, the Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize, and a US Artist Award. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture.
Lugo was in residence with Margaret Kinkeade in early July 2021, where the pair led ceramics workshops for the community. Kinkeade’s ceramic work focuses on the domestic object as souvenir, the collection as identity, and community connection through shared work. Her research focuses on American folk art and traditional craft especially those objects and methods historically used by women.
An anonymous donor is the supporting sponsor for this exhibition.
Roberto Lugo was in conversation with curator of contemporary art Samantha Cataldo to mark the opening of his new exhibition at the Currier Museum, Roberto Lugo: Te traigo mi le lo lai (May 6 through September 26, 2021). Watch the video below for their full ARTalk conversation.
Archived material on past exhibitions can be explored further here, and recent past exhibition catalogues are available through the museum shop.
artist in residence
Our Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program invites artists to live and work at the museum. While in residence, artists consider the collection and community, and refresh our perspectives on the role of the museum. The program is central to the Currier Museum’s mission of connecting our audiences with art and creative thinking, whether of the past or the future. We hope to learn from our visiting artists – and be surprised by their perspectives.
Artists working in all media participate in the AIR program, which has three main components: 1) an open call to support emerging artists making socially engaged art; 2) an invitational through which artists are selected to develop special projects, commissions, or exhibitions; and 3) artist-led, community-centered public art projects in the city of Nashua, NH.
Open Call for Artist in Residence Applications
Our annual open call is currently live from October 1 – December 1, 2022. Artists who share the museum’s goal of positively impacting communities through the transformative power of art are encouraged to apply to this residency.