We are excited to announce our Spring 2023 artist-in-residence, Veronica A. Perez. Perez's work lies between interdisciplinary sculpture and community practice, encouraging a reflection on identity for participants and viewers alike. Of their art, Perez says:
"My work lies at the intersection of identity, vulnerability, protection & power, using materials such as hair, sugar, and chain link fencing to reveal hidden & forgotten parts of ones’ identity. They reflect the experience of the artist and an experience of a diaspora of Latinx folx. My practice is further informed by research on the effects of colonialism & gentrification within individuals relating to identity politics. This research-based practice about the psychological impact of white supremacy is related to my personal experiences as a biracial person. My father, a Puerto Rican man, would openly wish for a blonde-haired, blue-eyed child. I assumed he wanted a kid that looked like my mom. I now realize years after his death, he hoped for his children to have an easier time navigating this world. For this reason, visual art has served as a catalyst to understand the world. Art helps me understand socio-political issues that affect me and the communities that surround me. In turn, this aids me in working together with said communities toward mutual aid, representation, and interdependence."
Perez's project with USM is entitled braiding circles. It will be an immersive installation featuring hair, hands, and oral stories that ruminates on themes such as fractured identity, representation, and power through the vision of students and community members in USM and Portland and how these intimate stories can comment on larger systemic issues that affect BIPOC folx in the immediate communities.
Perez's engagement with USM will start in January 2023. If you are interested in participating or volunteering alongside Perez, please contact the Director of Art Exhibitions and Outreach, Kat Zagaria Buckley.
Special thanks to the University of Southern Maine Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Council for supporting this program.
Learn more about our Artist-in-Residence program here.
Photograph credit: Coco McCracken.