The Constructed Self (2019-2021) explore themes of identity and self-representation through unconventional portraiture. Using digital photography as a foundation, I transform traditional prints into three-dimensional objects by cutting and incorporating tactile elements such as wood, paint, and resin. The labor-intensive techniques I apply to create these sculptural objects not only allow for a physical deconstruction of my images but also become a form of meditation that reflects my efforts in trying to reconstruct and make sense of my own identity.
Like a puzzle, my identities intersect coming together to construct my multiple sense of Self. Although I do not appear in the pictures I see the works as self-reflective and it's very important for me to show the diversity within my models. As an immigrant from Latin America and a descendant of Indigenous Peoples from the South, I feel the need to celebrate diversity to reframe the representation of historically marginalized identities.
Some of the pieces that make up these dimensional portraits can be rearranged and displayed in various ways to express the notion that identity is a social construct.
At once colorful, surreal and minimal, my constructed portraits invite the viewer to challenge their own perceptions and biases, by highlighting the complexities that make up who we are.
"I am large," "I contain multitudes" borrows the name from Walt Whitman's poem, Song of Myself, 51: "Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
I appropriate Whitman's words to speak about the multiplicity of identity and how the unity of identity is a limitation or even repression.
We can be complex and many, we could be whatever we want to be. We can fight invisibility and define ourselves by turning against the normative that dictates this world. We should recognize and celebrate ourselves and the multitudes we contain.