Sunday, September 21, 2014

#WhatLatinosLookLike Art Project

For my Art enthusiast. Do you want to be a part of my Thesis Art project? Send me your Selfie. 

Project completed

I recognize that the selfie trend is not just about narcissism or need for validation; I also see it as a platform for addressing important issues. Social media provides a forum for anyone to create awareness and express dislikes on any issues. For instance, I came across the hashtag, #WhatLatinosLookLike, which was provoked by the theory that Hispanics are identifying as white in larger numbers as part of a process of racial assimilation resembling that of Italian or Irish descendants: a theory that both the New York Times and Slate addressed in June 2014 (Benedetti, Huff Post).  These articles may aim to point at the possibility of an evolving self-identity or benefit associated with being identified with a specific group.  #WhatLatinosLookLike prompts the viewer to reflect on self-identity while making visible that Latinos are diverse in skin color. In order to engage in this issue, I interacted with strangers and responded to their selfies on Twitter. I take pride in identifying as Latina; therefore I joined strangers on Twitter to take part in displaying the diversity within Latinos. 

While painting the portraits of fifteen of the participants, some of whom identified as Mexican-Greek, Chicano Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican-Mexican-Polish to Cuban-Ecuadorian, I was able to slow down and think about these individuals in the process of undoing stereotypes and showcasing diversity. I sifted through hundreds of selfies posted on Twitter, and selected ones that I felt displayed diversity, in terms of age, ethnicity, skin tone, profession, or religious preference. As shown above, on the left the subject tagged his images as Argentine, PorteƱo, with Jewish, Ukrainian and Polish roots; while subject on the right tagged his as AfroRican, having African and Puerto Rican roots. I painted portraits from these appropriated selfies as a means of making connections in our shared identity. My series #WhatLatinosLookLike allowed me to demonstrate diversity within the Latino community and casually attempt to describe the complexity within it. Painting from images that are inherently informal and impermanent, I created an archive: my own record of these images that became more permanent than in digital form on social media networks.

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