Lotería, a game of chance that is popular in Mexico and resembles “Bingo,” relies upon the identification of symbols instead of numbers. The Lotería deck uses 54 images that are representative of the culture of the region in which the deck was developed. Popular images include the characters, flora, fauna and objects people see or use on a daily basis. While various decks exist, U.S. players are most familiar with the Gallo Pasatiempos deck, whose iconic images, including El Corazón (The Heart) and La Sirena (The Mermaid) are symbols that have become synonymous with Mexican identity.
In ¡Lotería!: Highlights from the Permanent Collection, the curators took objects from MOLAA’s Permanent Collection and identified what they interpreted to be their corresponding cards in the Lotería deck. Some, like La Sandía (The Watermelon) and El Valiente (The Brave One) are literal representations of the cards, while others are connected either by formal qualities or by concept. In creating a “deck” that is unique to MOLAA and its location, the curators have also identified some symbols that are representative of life in Southern California, including El Mickey (Mickey) and La Pistola (The Gun).
¡Lotería! uses a playful approach to MOLAA’s Permanent Collection while encouraging viewers to investigate the development and meanings of national, cultural and religious symbols. Through the exhibition’s education station, viewers are encouraged to develop their own Lotería cards and riddles as well as play a game of Lotería with their fellow visitors.
Curated by Gabriela Martínez, Curator of Education and Rebecca Horta, MOLAA’s Education Coordinator.