Mesa’s art exhibition ‘Pride and Protest’ focuses on LGBTQ empowerment


Xamara Aleman/The Mesa Press

Angel Albie Anjos, “Reborn Amongst Blossoms”

Xamara Aleman, Opinions Editor

San Diego Mesa Art Gallery opened its new student-curated exhibition, “Pride and Protest: A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Love and Activism,” on Monday, Oct. 31. Twenty-five artists from different backgrounds presented their works that examine and express the individual and collective experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. 


The overall environment of the gallery expressed activism and empowerment but there is a lack of visitor support. It was hard to get the full experience of the message the artists were trying to portray when there was only one person present. It was very quiet which made it hard to get comfortable at first. Having some music in the background or some type of noise would have helped with getting into the vibe of the room. 


All the artists created beautiful pieces, with vibrant colors and different types of artistic styles to represent the LGBTQ+ community, but some pieces stood out more than most. Angel Albie Anjos drew upon the classics to create highly saturated, vibrant, and commanding depictions of queer icons from mythological and religious origins. Her painting was of a woman sitting curled up in a valley full of purple blossoms. 


The description presented next to her artwork was described as “Reborn Amongst Blossoms” made in 2021 out of oil on canvas. Creating a line of cultural continuity from ancient times to the present, Anjos’ paintings both draw upon and redraw ideological boundaries regarding gender and sexuality, according to the description on the Mesa College website. 


Anjo’s work perfectly portrayed learning about the beauty of sexuality by using blossoms and creating a different way of representing a human being that’s painted orange as the main focus of the painting, which makes someone question what is going on in this human mind. 


Another artist named Scott Gengelbach has two of his pieces on display, the first being, “Love is the Definition of Marriage,” and the second being, “God Hates Haters.” Gengelbach’s first piece was made in 2006 out of toys, wood, and spray paint. His second piece is the one that stood out the most out of all the artwork in the gallery because of the strong message it portrays. 


“God Hates Haters,” was made in 2014 out of paper, ink, pastels and a mirror on the board. Gengelbach plasters the quote “God Hates Haters” and uses a mirror as a reflection to show the observer in the art piece. This piece is compelling because of the hate the LGBTQ+ community gets from people with very strong religious views. 


This piece represents what it means to have pride in what someone’s beliefs are and protest against the people who try to bring hate into these lives. Gengelbach creates this indescribably empowering image that shows the pain this community has to go through to gain acceptance. 


There are many unique art pieces with beautiful messages that are meant to be shared with the students of Mesa. The Pride and Protest art exhibition will be open until Nov. 17, so take a look in, it’s 100% worth the time.