(De)structuring Borders: Latinx Art and Imaginary Mappings

by Illuminations: The Chancellor's Arts & Culture Initiative

Cultural Art Latinx UCI Illuminations

Tue, May 17, 2022

3:30 PM – 6:30 PM PDT (GMT-7)

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This panel creates a conversation between artists, curators, and scholars who challenge the delineations of borderlands in the Americas. Whether confronting natural borders such as water, or political ones like the Mexico-US border, the artists create imaginary maps that take into consideration the regions’ histories of migration. Employing a variety of media including painting, textile, performance, installation, and drawing, the artists probe the relationship of fluid human movement along borderlands and national delineations that attempt to physically separate countries and people. Rather than approaching borderlands literally, we will discuss how artists and exhibitions shift and deconstruct the relationships of land and human movement based on their own experiences of migration and exchanges in the United States. This panel brings together California’s focus on the Mexico-US border with a national conversation about borders in the Americas through a Latinx artistic lens.

Biography of Speakers:
Nyugen Smith: Nyugen E. Smith (USA, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago) is a first-generation Caribbean-American interdisciplinary artist based in Jersey City, NJ. Through performance, found object sculpture, mixed media drawing, painting, video, photo and writing, Nyugen deepens his knowledge of historical and present-day conditions of Black African descendants in the diaspora. Trauma, spiritual practices, language, violence, memory, architecture, landscape and climate change are primary concerns in his practice. Nyugen holds a BA, Fine Art from Seton Hall University and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Tanya Aguiñiga: Tanya Aguiñiga (b. 1978) is a Los Angeles based artist/designer/craftsperson who was raised in Tijuana, Mexico. She holds an MFA in furniture design from Rhode Island School of Design and a BA from San Diego State University. In her formative years she created various collaborative installations with the Border Arts Workshop, an artists' group that engages the languages of activism and community-based public art. Her current work uses craft as a performative medium to generate dialogues about identity, culture and gender while creating community. This approach has helped Museums and non-profits in the United States and Mexico diversify their audiences by connecting marginalized communities through collaboration.

Rosalía Romero: An assistant professor at Pomona College, Rosalía Romero is an art historian of modern and contemporary Latin America. She specializes in the art of modern Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border. Rosalía completed her Ph.D. in the department of art, art history & visual studies at Duke University in 2019. Her dissertation, titled “Anarchism and Modern Art in Greater Mexico, 1910-1950,” traces the relationship between anarchist philosophies and a transborder art movement in Mexico, the U.S. and South America. She is currently at work on the book manuscript. Her research has been supported by the Fulbright-García Robles Foundation, the Getty Library Research Grant, and the Ibero-American Institute (Berlin).

Co-moderator: J.V. Decemvirale: J.V. Decemvirale is the Weisman Postdoctoral Instructor in Visual Culture and the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. An Angeleno of Italian and Peruvian decent, his research focuses on the history of arts activism and community art spaces in Black and Latinx Los Angeles. Decemvirale’s writings can be found online at: Smithsonian American Art Museum blog, Artsy and Smarthistory.

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