Through portraiture I am exploring my personal history and weaving together a narrative that encapsulates both my present day life and lived experience.
In America I was a Peruvian immigrant. Now, living in Berlin, I am an American expat. When I speak, I sound American, but Spanish is my first language. Culturally, I am a product of the hispanic melting pot that I grew up in and carry the heritage of my catholic and spanish-speaking conservative upbringing. My family emigrated to Peru from Spain and Germany in the early 20th century. I am one of a long line of world immigrants, dispersed and separated for reasons that I am only now beginning to understand.
Self-portraiture has become a process through which I am gently examining layers of my personhood. It is a way of examining myself and questioning the identities that were projected onto me as an immigrant living in America. How does one reconcile different cultures in one’s upbringing and later in their search for identity? Looking inward, I am drawing from personal visual references to paint an image of self-reflection. As a Peruvian painter, I am looking at Eurocentric modes of representation as a way to reinsert my unique perspective into a canon that has historically been exclusive of immigrant voices. Painting is a meditative experience - a time when a collage of ideas can come together to form a complete thought.
My focus on portraiture comes from a fascination with record keeping and journaling. I see my work as a series of journal entries memorializing, for myself, significant moments in my life. During the lockdown of 2020, I painted portraits exclusively of my partner. The work became a visual illustration of our collective experience during the worst of the pandemic in New York City. Currently, I have returned to the self-portrait as a way to examine the experience of my recent relocation. In moving to Europe, I have reclaimed the agency of choosing where to live. The act of self-portraiture necessitates agency and autonomy. By this act, I am taking ownership of how my story and image are archived for posterity.