My art practice negotiates visibility, belonging, and the politics of location. Using installation, sculpture, performance, sound, and participatory actions, I examine historical narratives and spatial codes, both individually and collectively. By challenging understandings of geography and place, I work to mediate, subvert, and uproot the familiar or unnoticed to provoke new powerful narratives.
The color brown is persistent in my work. It acts as signifier of isolation, displacement, and dis-belonging, relative to my family’s immigrant experience from Mexico to the United States. Growing up in Chicago, I remember public activist murals and street art concealed in brown paint by the city’s “graffiti blaster” program. The color brown came to embody both occupation and erasure. As a result, my art practice takes on public sites that are simultaneously visible and invisible, investigating them through both perceptual and political lenses.
In my large-scale community-based projects, the durational, long-term, and collective are important elements. These projects require me to spend significant time in a specific place, and allow me to cultivate tender relationships within a community. Focusing on the area surrounding the Cook County Jail, the "96 Acres Project" is a series of community-engaged, site-responsive art projects involving stakeholders’ ideas about transformative justice issues, and exploring the impact of incarceration on Black and Latino communities. In addition to growing up in proximity to the jail, it’s brutality deeply impacted me on my first visit as part of my elementary school's "scared straight" program. Since being founded in 2012, the “96 Acres Project” has mobilized and engaged many contributors including other artists, educators, youth, as well as the formerly incarcerated.
As an artist examining the social anatomy of site and location, I value the ways art speaks to the politicized body and its experience of multiple boundaries and topographies. I also value the ability of art to address how histories, both public and private, inform our experience of place and mobility (or immobility). Issues of proximity reveal issues of boundaries. Through interdisciplinary and interrogative approaches, my work manifests the crises within those divisions. Redefining the spatial imaginary is therefore an act of appearing and disappearing, of the immediacy of praxis, and the viability of poetics.