This ongoing body of work explores issues related to social identity when cultural bias is not only informing political discourse, but more harshly affecting people’s interactions with, and perceptions of, immigrants.
These paintings bring to the fore a cultural diversity that goes beyond mere stereotypes. Immigrants are contributing to the American economy in a variety of underrated ways. While they perform humble jobs, society insists on not seeing them at all. I want to make visible those who are invisible. And so, the heads of my protagonists feature powerful symbols of their respective cultures. Spiritual and mythological entities take human form in the bodies of these hard-working individuals within American contemporary society. Beneath the paint itself lies a collage of photos which could have been taken from each protagonist’s own photo albums. These vignettes show the richness of each culture, and sources of pride: folk traditions, patriotic festivities, religious ceremonies, landmarks, traditional dress and dishes, etc. This background connotes the very fabric of cultural identity and individual self-respect.
Delving deeper than just outward looks, we can discover that people are endowed with a cultural wealth that could be a source of enrichment for all. When social tension based on ignorance and prejudice is running amok, my goal is to bring forth a perspective that invites us to view the other in a different light.