As an American by birth and a Venezuelan by blood I have always felt trapped in-between cultural customs and traditions. Always struggling between the two worlds, I consider myself to be an immigrant with privileges. My advantages allow me to serve as an intermediary, a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
A few years ago, a dear friend had trouble with immigration when her request for political asylum was denied. The day after her letter arrived in the mail she was arrested for being an illegal immigrant and taken to county jail. She was treated as a criminal. My friend, Daniela, is a mother of three children all born in the United States and is married to a man who had already received political asylum. Her arrest was senseless and I felt powerless that there was nothing that could be done. She remained in jail for almost 6 months until she was sent back to Venezuela. The injustice done to her and her family motivated me to change the way I approach the work I make.
The United States is a country built by immigrants, yet it has become more visible that conflicts have heightened the walls of freedom and the doors of opportunity have become increasingly unwelcome. Many people risk their lives to come to the U.S. under false pretences of a country full of possibilities where all nationalities and ethnicities are welcome to contribute towards the formation of a better nation. Dedication, persistence and hard work are the keys to success most accessible to the privileged. In an effort to obtain legal residency and work permits, underprivileged immigrants face complex legal webs almost impossible to untangle.
The objective of my work is to help others form critical views of contemporary society by exposing and confronting human rights issues that most of society is unwilling to acknowledge. By facilitating the dialogue between the observer and the object, I hope to continue to raise awareness of the socio-cultural and socio-political inequalities surrounding my heritage, and the heritage of all American immigrants. Contemporary art has the ability to induce change in the world by creating awareness of social injustices and encourage others to become critical of the social system they live in.