What compels my artistic practice is the desire to convey that which I have found to be true in all of the countries I have traveled to: that our commonalities as human beings far outweigh our differences. The bond between brothers, the love between mother and child, the kinship shared through creative endeavors; these run like threads in the great fabric of generations.
The reasons behind my use of recycled material are multilayered. First, artists have always used materials close-at-hand; I use what is most readily available to my era—waste from our globalized consumer culture. Secondly, my use of trash is a spiritual practice in the sense that it is re-transfigured into something of beauty. Finally, using post-consumer waste is a socio-political act: it is a form of recycling that expresses our interconnectedness as human beings—in what we value, share, consume, and cast away.
The works I have chosen to include in “Dignidad y Fronteras”, along with art by Ruben Urrea Moreno, embody the theme in varied ways. The subjects of “Elisa”, “Ramona”, “Israel ‘Stylebender’ Adesanya”, and “Aminatou Haidar”, are directly affected by Fronteras — ie the frontiers and borders (and deregulated ‘free zones’) of globalized commerce: a structure that exploits countries of the ‘Global South’ by extracting their resources, keeping their economies beholden to the IMF, and impoverishing their people. These portraits illuminate a bright spirit, a sense of humanity, and above all Dignidad, I have often encountered in individuals all over the world in the face of such disparities.
“Paul Stamets”, “Wim Hof”, and “Ratu Bagus”, speak to a different kind of Frontera— the limitations and boundaries of the mind that can be transcended through spiritual practice: Bagus’ bioenergy shaking meditation, Hof’s breathing techniques, and Stamets’ psychotropic journeys rooted in Indigenous plant knowledge. Through these practices, these subjects, as well as the many people they have guided, have achieved the ultimate Dignidad of self emancipation.
The thread that runs through these works and others, is a direct encounter with Fronteras— both tangible and metaphysical; coupled with an innate sense of Dignidad.
Rose de Buenos Aires
Acrylic and mixed media on panel
24"h x 12"w
As a self-taught Mexican-American artist from Tucson, Arizona, my artwork is rooted in personal experience and global politics, as well as the conviction that, as an artist, I have a responsibility to cast a light on both the beauty and cruelty of human existence on our planet.
My driving inspirations are a mixture of heritage and mythology. These themes are often filtered through a symbolic lens of my Mexican-American and indigenous heritage. The imagery I produce is often filled with elements of love, life, death, and the ethos of good and bad within a modern social context. Through my work, I wish to inspire people toward a place of empowerment. I challenge the viewer to interact with the work by questioning and sharing the ideas of their own interpretations.
BIO: Ruben Urrea Moreno is a multi-disciplinary Chicano artist born and raised in Tucson, AZ. Ruben's work has been included in group and solo exhibitions in El Paso, L.A., San Diego, Phoenix, Mexico and on the International Mexican American border itself. His work is in the permanent collections of the Tucson Museum of Art and El Paso Museum of Art, and Austin Museum of Art. Ruben currently works as a full-time museum professional with the Arizona State Museum. His art examines themes of human rights, cultural issues, political plights, the struggles of immigrant communities and healing. For the Dignidad y Fronteras show, Ruben will be exhibiting his take on the Snakes and Ladders board game, which he titled "Frontera".
8” x 8”
mixed media on a baltic wood panel