Pajaro Bird Auction takes flight in West Palm Beach

By Deon C. Jefferson

      When it comes to modern technology, we use emojis to communicate. We use the emoji for several reasons, it can be used as a tool to tell a quick story or to describe a mood. Since the eighties, artist Rolando Chang Barro has been using the pajaro bird to communicate and send messages for the LBGT community. Last weekend, Barrero held the Pajaro Bird Auction at the Box Gallery where he is the owner and master curator.

The idea came about when Barrero had the opportunity to work with the Mexican Consulate in Miami. He wanted to create an entire wall of Pajaro Birds and incorporate intersectionality.  However, he did not want to do them all solo. So, Barrero asked his friends from the LGBTQ community to help him tackel the project. Thanks to his leadership and influence, over 100 different artists from all over the world were able to participate. Barrero had Pajaro submissions from artists in Europe and Mexico. Most of the birds were from the local Palm Beach County area. The exhibit at the Mexican Consulate is the first ever indoor pride exhibition in a Latin American country’s space. This exhibition took place in June, which led up to last weekend’s auction.

The story behind the Pajaro Bird is very interesting and inspiring. “Pajaro” has been used as a slang term generally in latin countries and spaces. It was used to to describe male homosexuality. The feminine term Pajara is used to describe lesbians.  Culturally, the bird has been used as a symbol for freedom, strength, in addition to harmony with fellow creatures.  Barrero started making the birds in the 80’s during the AIDS pandemic, and as he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Barerro created wood cutouts for the overlooked, young homeless and disenfranchised gay latino men.

During the auction, guests were greeted with soft music, wine, and light horderves.  The auction was hosted by Chris “Ab Fab” Rhoades. There were several community organizations represented amongst the crowd. Some of those guests were Rand Hoch, President of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council and Orlando Gonzalez, President of SAVE LGBT. One of the highlights of the evening came when 12-year-old vocalist Carly Cantor graced the audience with two selections. The Wellington resident sung “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” made famously by Judy Garland and “I am what I am”, as sung by Shirley Bassey and written by Jerry Herman, an openly gay male. Both songs serve as global anthems for the LGBT community.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit SAVE LGBT and Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. Each bid started at one hundred dollars. At the end of the night, forty of the one hundred birds had been sold. The display will be up for an entire month, so if you have a chance to come to Palm Beach, stop by the Box Gallery. Save LGBT is South Florida’s longest serving LGBTQ rights and advocacy organization. Safeguarding American Values for Everyone since 1993.  Palm Beach County Human Rights Council is dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Barrero is a multimedia artist whose work includes fashion design, video, film, painting, sculpture, acting, and performance art. With over 40 years of experience, he is inspired by cultural shifts, politics, climate change, the AIDS pandemic, Brain Cancer, recovery from addiction, and intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Many have considered Barrero to be a renaissance man.

“The most rewarding part of the evening is the unity that developed as a result of this three-month long project”, Barrero Said. “The introduction of a 12-year-old singer Carly Cantor and working alongside some of the most influential artists and people in our community was perfect! And not to mention that this exhibition has previously been shown at the Mexican consulate in Miami and we’ll go on to various locations in the future”. For information on how you can get your hands on a Pajaro bird, visit

About Carma Henry 21599 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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