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Red Poppy Art House: Silhouettes eMOTION: Artist Reception with Carlos Cartagena

September 21, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

On Saturday, September 7, for the grand reopening of Family Art, Carlos Cartagena will set up his art tables on the sidewalk and work with children and adults who walk by Red Poppy Art House. He will engage in conversations with neighbors and invite them to become part of the creative process of the silhouette pieces that he is creating. The conversation will focus on the situation with the children who are stuck in Tijuana and for the children who have been separated from their parents and are now in the U.S. border prisons.

Creating art pieces with the letters that are written, he will exhibit the final works at Red Poppy Art House for his reception on Saturday, September 21. These silhouettes—made of plywood and covered with original stories of migrant people, photos, documents, poems, and original letters—are dedicated to Jakelin Caal and the children held in the prisons at the border.

Learn more about the exhibition Silhouettes eMOTION here.


Carlos Cartagena was born in El Salvador, and the formative years of his youth were in the 1980s when his country was beginning to bleed incurably from the wounds of war. A restless desire to make art was always with him, but initially he opted to undertake a more practical career: studying business administration at the National School of Commerce.

Cartagena was always in direct contact with painting and artists since for generations his family had been in the framing business. This, as well as the socio-political condition of his country, induced him, against all odds, to abandon his academic career and take up art, not only as a profession but also as an alternative form of resistance to the oppression of the regime in those years.

In November of 1989, Cartagena came to the United States and started to work with new techniques. First, he worked with CODICES, a group of artists working in support of Salvadoran culture, and then, for five years, was part of a group of artists at the KALA Art Institute in Berkeley. There he learned various techniques of etching and printmaking.

Today he is working independently through painting, printmaking, installations, and mixed media. In 2009, Cartagena founded a cultural project in his art studio, No Right Turn Studio. He has had the opportunity to exhibit his work in group shows with well-known artists such as Francisco Toledo, Claudia Bernardi, Rupert García, Enrique Chagoya, Nathan Oliveira. Since 1993, Cartagena’s work—in addition to being shown at numerous venues in the Bay Area—has been exhibited in El Salvador, Mexico, Japan, Cuba, and throughout the United States.

Chelis López is an award-winning Mexican journalist who has lived in San Francisco since 1996. For almost 10 years, she hosted the national radio show Línea Abierta at Radio Bilingüe, the National Latino Public Radio Network where she interviewed and produced diverse stories, including the live broadcast of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, an annual celebration of communities and cultures in the United States and around the world presented annually in Washington, D.C. López is the host and producer of two Spanish-language shows on KPOO 89.5FM in San Francisco, Pájaro Latinoamericano and Andanzas, where she explores and offers news, comments, and interviews with newsmakers and artists throughout Latin America. She is also the San Francisco correspondent for Rompeviento TV in Mexico, as well as hosts locally at Marin TV.


September 21, 2019
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Red Poppy Art House
2698 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94110 United States
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(650) 731-5383