by December 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,511 0


Mexican Cultural Institute on 16th Street NW. (Emiliano Barron)

From Emiliano Barron. Email him at ebarron[AT]

The Mexican Cultural Institute (2829 16th Street NW) is committed to enriching the relationship between Mexico and the U.S. by sharing Mexico’s vibrant cultural past and present with the local community.

The building, known as the Mansion, was the home of the Mexican Embassy up until 1989. Today the Mexican Cultural Institute is its own home, where the walls speak for themselves, telling not only the history of Mexico but also of the Americas.

One such exhibit that helps to tell this story is Luces y Sombras: Fourteen Travelers in Mexico, which is currently showing through March 2, 2013. The Mexican Cultural Institute describes the exhibit:

Mexico’s politics, diverse landscapes, ancient history and existing culture have lured and influenced photographers since the advent of the medium. The twentieth century saw many internationally acclaimed photographers travel through Mexico and document the country from their unique perspectives. Their status, both as outsiders and as artists, gave them a distinctive view on this subject and allowed for a wide range of imagery to emerge in their work.

The exhibit accurately conveys aspects of the social history of Mexico through images of the working class and poor areas of country. Those who visit the exhibit will see faces of the elderly, completely run down, and little kids that are not smiling or playing, but rather taking a break from work.

Through photography, Luces y Sombras: Fourteen Travelers in Mexico shows how much the country has advanced over the years. What I found to be most enjoyable was Paul Strands’ photography. Strands’ images focus on portraits, as well as religion, giving viewers a true sense of the hard work and dedication of Mexico’s working class.

Luces y Sombras: Fourteen Travelers in Mexico is a free exhibit. The Medican Cultural Institute is open Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm, and from noon until 4 pm on Saturday.

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