Portage Park artist Janice Aponte poses for a photo next to her paintings at Triple R Gallery, 5031 W. Montrose Ave., on Sept. 2, 2022 at the opening of the gallery's show celebrating Latino artists for National Hispanic Heritage Month. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

PORTAGE PARK — A Northwest Side gallery has a new look to accompany its latest exhibit, which highlights Latino and Hispanic artists from around Chicago.

Colorful lettering, Latin American flags and artwork line the front of Triple R Gallery, 5031 W. Montrose Ave., which at the start of the month opened its exhibit celebrating Latino artists and their identity and history.

Vibrant mixed media work such as photography, mosaics, oil paintings, recycled art and abstract doodles fill the gallery.

The exhibit running until the end of September. It features 11 artists, most of whom live on the Northwest Side, gallery owner and curator Riah Dunton said. The show is the gallery’s nod to National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15.

The aim of the exhibit was to also “show that we are multicultural here,” Dunton said.

“I was so thrilled to get such a variety, which is what I was looking for,” Dunton said.

Triple R Gallery, 5031 W. Montrose Ave., on Sept. 2, 2022 is celebrating Latino artists for National Hispanic Heritage Month with its new show. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

The gallery, which opened last year, has a mission to increase opportunities for local artists to share their work, especially work that’s restored, reimagined and repurposed. In keeping with the gallery’s theme, some artists in the exhibit have never shown their work before and are using repurposed material, Dunton said.

Portage Park artist Janice Aponte is displaying her oil paintings, which are inspired by her childhood in Puerto Rico, her family and her culture, she said. She is proud to show her work and bring more attention to the diversity of the neighborhood, she said.

National Hispanic Heritage Month “is special because we want to share our culture, our music, food, art … when you showcase your work with so much pride during that month, it speaks to where you are from,” Aponte said.

As a longtime Portage Park resident, Aponte said she is glad Triple R Gallery is giving more opportunities to artists. She has a studio in Hermosa but wants to open a gallery in Portage Park to increase the area’s walkability and exposure to the arts scene, she said.

“When you have more galleries, you tend to get more people, and they start hopping from gallery to gallery, so it’s beneficial for everybody and other businesses,” she said.

Another artist and poet, Isaac Galvan, has visited 25 archeological sites in Latin America, which influenced his series of paintings, “Star Wars.” His work depicts the Mayans’ rituals to prepare for war, where rival civilizations would fight for power.

Mexican-American artist Isaac Galvan picked pieces from his series called “Star Wars.” to show at Triple R Gallery’s show. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

Galvan’s art combines his interests of history, ancient civilizations and metaphysics and are a call to the past, Galvan said.

“What I’d really like to express is a reminder of what it means to be American first and foremost, in the deepest sense of the word,” said Glavan, of Pilsen. “I am talking about a migration that happened 35,000 years ago and building the foundations from there and realizing there were civilizations living here prior to the European arrival.”

Dunton plans to host solo shows by some of the artists in the exhibit since it’s received positive feedback, she said.

The show runs through September. The gallery is open 12-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 10- 5 p.m. Saturdays.

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