The Corn - Opening Reception

On Friday, November 10th, Stay Gallery, alongside sponsor Downey’s Amapola, welcomed artist Mario Sibaja during the opening reception of ‘The Corn – The True Pre-Hispanic Treasure and some Aspects of Pre-Hispanic Life.’

The reception hosts held an exclusive VIP private event before opening the doors to the public. The guest list included Mayor Pro-Tem Sean Ashton, Downey Kiwanis President Michael Chirco, President of the Board of Education of the Downey Unified School District Martha Sodetani, and owner of Porto’s Cuban Bakery Betty Porto, just to name a few. The guests were welcomed by thank you speeches from Stay Gallery Curator Ana Godinez followed by one of the gallery’s biggest supporters, Carlos Galvan Jr. owner of Downey Amapola. After thank you speeches, the guest artist, Mario Sibaja had the opportunity to talk to the public about his artwork and answer a few questions.

Throughout the night, corn served as an ongoing theme being present in a lot of the art that was on display, the table décor, and in the food that was carefully crafted and catered by Amapola. Appetizers included a corn and mushroom vegetarian ceviche served with corn chips, chicken and corn tamales, and corn baked desserts. Wine and nonalcoholic drinks were also available to accompany all the dishes.

Mario Sibaja was first introduced to Stay Gallery late this summer through Carlos Galvan. Galvan had been friends of the artist for years and actually has one of his paintings in his office. After an introduction and a visit to Sibaja’s studio, the artist was scheduled for an exhibit in November that would be sponsored by Amapola.

Mario Sibaja was born and raised in Tapanatepec, a town in Oaxaca, Mexico. His artwork has been showcased all over the county including: Los Angeles City Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Million Dollar Theatre, Long Beach Convention Center, and countless other places. Sibaja often depicts artwork portraying important aspects of Pre-Hispanic culture. He believes that the story behind the painting should be just as important, if not more important, than the painting itself. For this exhibition, Sibaja chose to highlight agriculture, especially corn, as a treasure. He painted his characters as powerful people interacting with earthly elements and playing with jaguars, juxtaposed with images of Mayans with fruits and vegetables. Sibaja seeks to inspire his audience in hopes of raising appreciation and respect for the Pre-Hispanic culture.

Coming from a family of artists, Mario Sibaja’s art stands out because of the carving in his work. Sibaja begins his masterpieces with months of research on the topic he wishes to depict, sketches numerous drafts, and once he finalizes imagery, he draws it out, and carves in his drawing to create depth. Sibaja then adds bright colors that are typically found in Mexican paintings topped with a glossy varnish. His paintings vary in sizes, complexity, and price range.  

Stay Gallery would like to thank Carlos Galvan of Amapola. His sponsorship, aside from the food, drinks, and décor for the opening reception, included an extremely generous donation of $5,000, which will allow the gallery to continue their mission of civilly engaging their community through art and culture. This donation will be used during the Stay Young 2018 Season, which dedicates ten weeks to student programing, exhibitions, and art festivals. Anyone interested in purchasing art from the exhibit or interested in donating or becoming an event sponsor can contact the gallery curator at

If you did not get the opportunity to attend the opening reception of ‘The Corn,’ the art will be on display through Mid-December.

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