Hogares temporales y otros un poco permanentes

Hogares temporales y otros un poco permanentes

Lauren Alfaro Núñez, printmaker and installation artist, and Juan Diego Pérez La Cruz, multidisciplinary visual artist, explore migration, space, territory, and how this impacts the personal, sense of self, and identity through Hogares temporales y otros un poco permanentes (Temporary homes and others a bit permanent).

Both Alfaro Núñez and Pérez La Cruz, due to socioeconomic and political forces in Costa Rica and Venezuela respectively, were forced to envision a life outside of their community, their culture, and their country. Hogares temporales y otros un poco permanentes captures the physical sensations and raw emotions immigrants face when being forced out of their country into a new one where they must quickly grasp and work within confusing and complex institutions—all while reconstructing a sense of home and even a sense of identity. 

The difficult decision to migrate was a direct response to socioeconomic and political forces. For Pérez La Cruz, governmental censorship, insecurity, lack of food, and deteriorating public services in Venezuela resulted in his home being transformed into a prison (as shown in the photographic series “Dame Libertad” presented at Maczul Museo de Arte Contemporaneo del Zulia) and later his need to escape out of the country. As of August 31, 2022, the United Nations confirmed that this exodus of Venezuelan refugees hit an all-time high of 6.8 million (“Venezuelan Migration Picks Up, Reaches about 6.8M” by Regina Garcia Cano at Associated Press). Meaning, the number of people fleeing Venezuela is equal to those escaping Ukraine. For Alfaro Núñez, leaving her home country was her only option if she even wanted to consider art as a profession. This was coupled by the need for financial support to obtain a college education to garner credibility and respect, both at home and abroad. In Canada, Pearson College UWC offered her the opportunity to do just this. From Canada, Alfaro Núñez came to the United States where she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). 

Since arriving to the Twin Cities, both artists experienced a form of societal censorship and/or prejudice in which they were assumed to or asked to fit into a stereotypical idea of “Latinx art.” In addition, for both artists, “Latinx/Hispanic” became a new identity and community both were forced into by merely existing in the United States. And because of this, stereotypical concepts and themes were pushed onto their art such as hyper-aestheticization of the beautiful including happiness, romanticization of poverty, the figurative over conceptualism, bright and overly saturated colors, etc. Instead, both artists push against these notions and express their journeys full of mixed feelings, varying levels of consciousness, and intense uncertainty of restarting and processing different systems and different ways of being in several different countries. This is visible with the following pieces: “cycles of impermanence” and “Your life story” by Alfaro Núñez and “A ella la recuerdo” (I remember her) y “Estudios de una familia fracturada” (An analysis of a fractured family) by Pérez La Cruz. 

Alfaro Núñez and Pérez La Cruz deconstruct and reconstruct memories while asking us to wander through all of the emotions at the John B. Davis Gallery in the Minneapolis Public Schools. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Hogares temporales y otros un poco permanentes opens on September 6th and goes until October 12th. Ultimately, this exhibit welcomes us to embracing uncertainty, sitting with confusing feelings and difficult questions, as well as engaging further with this sense of in betweenness and tension held within the immigrant body. 

Text Credit:  Mirella Espino. Curatorial Text.

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