As Part of "Age of Cognizance" at Yellow House Gallery
In 2020 I wanted to create work about displacement, exile, and migration, not knowing that these societal issues would become relevant today more than ever. As an artist, it is a challenge to create meaningful work during the humanitarian crisis that was the Coronavirus pandemic; nevertheless, it was during this time that I found myself taking refuge in my creative process.
Some paintings in this series focus on the concept of the American Dream while others delve into personal family events during the pandemic. In the self-portrait Picnic on the Beach, I ask myself and the viewer about the real meaning of this utopia---is it the comfort of freedom? These uncertainties weigh heavy as I drag them across the sand inside a suitcase, symbolizing a lack of acceptance from two different worlds. As I immerse myself in American culture, I am also working to keep my childhood memories alive, as they distort with the passage of time.
In discovering my version of the American Dream, I realize how this concept can be differently interpreted depending on cultural upbringing and social values. Thus, with The Camping Trip and The Family's Getaway, the dream is viewed through two different lenses... a mother and a father with similar aspirations in life, a better outcome for future generations in a country with polarizing political opinions, in need of a change in the right direction.
Subsequently and while undergoing this artistic process, I experienced life and death in my family. These inevitable realities changed the nature of my work, forcing me to look outward to loved ones where I found life lessons and family values that made the worst of times seem bearable. It is during these times of crisis that I understood that my role as an artist is to appropriate the often-surreal details of life as a labor of both love and commitment. I am interested in finding meaning beyond the mundane and banal in our everyday physical interactions, to uncover hidden messages of devotion and self-sacrifice. As I become this active observer, I realize that collectively, my body deals with the humanization and immortalization of folks.