- Magu, in his natural state – a smile.
Pomona, CA. At the collector’s preview of the new exhibition at the dA Center for the Arts, Cruisin Magulandia, the all-around feeling of the event was that of reverence. The entire night was filled with shared stories, friendly faces, passionate music, home-made snacks, and dozens of people looking to open up and revel in the loving memories of artist, Gilbert Luján. Better known as Magu to most, he was a friend to so many people it was overwhelming to ponder the numbers while I stood in the corner sipping on my wine, observing the crowd. A private event for collectors, this preview was originally designed to help raise money for preserving Magu’s legacy and art, but since his recent death, the artworks could not actually be sold until the legal issues were figured out with his estate. This disappointing fact made the gallery staff’s jobs quite a bit harder, but even with this unfortunate timing, the lists of people who were willing to “get in line” and wait for the artworks to clear was huge. The love for this man and his artwork was so moving that every time people started in with sharing stories, at least one person was in tears within just a few minutes. His artwork is as strong and passionate as his personality, and in person, the pieces carry a kind of life force all their own that knocks you down and pulls you in…
Even writing about it now, my eyes are welling up… Tears forming and pulling on my heart strings… To think about his artwork, his life, and his contribution to what I have grown up around, what I have been learning in schools and observing through history… His death is a great loss in our art world, and his life force resonates through his work in such a way, it feels other-worldly.
The exhibit is curated well, passionately planned, and thoroughly enjoyable for people of all ages and nationalities. It is a part of our local art history, and would be a shame to miss it.
Gilbert Magu Luján, you are missed and treasured.
by Evan A. Senn
Cruisin’ Magulandia: A Benefit for the Preservation of a Legacy
dA Center for the Arts 252 South Main St # D Pomona, CA 91766