Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1950, sculptor Luis Tapia is a pioneering Chicano artist who for forty-five years has pushed the art of polychrome wood sculpture to new levels of craftsmanship and social and political commentary. Tapia’s works speak to the complexity of Latino/Hispano/Chicano identity, history, and contemporary culture, offering compelling insights and challenging perspectives on life in the barrio, on the border, and beyond.
Rooted in a folk art tradition established in seventeenth-century New Mexico, Tapia’s work at once honors its origins, reinterprets traditional subject matter, and revitalizes age-old techniques. As an artist and activist whose works have been internationally exhibited and collected, Tapia informs and educates non-Hispanic viewers about the Chicano and Nuevomexicano experience. At the same time, he transcends cultural and ethnic borders through the elegance of his craft and commentary.
In this first publication devoted to Tapia’s artistic legacy, leading art historians, curators and literary figures consider Tapia’s art both inside and outside the local and regional contexts in which it is made. With more than 100 photographic reproductions, Borderless illuminates Tapia’s relevance and vitality within the broader national and international artistic conversation.