[-empyre-] Art as a Conversation

Maria Cornejo Cisneros mcornejo at pratt.edu
Mon Oct 28 04:14:36 AEDT 2019

Thank you Margaret for including me and my work.

I am attaching a few photographs from videos that Ryan Bonilla and I are

I think my approach is playful and it gets people involved in the
experience to open up new perceptions and inclusivity.

My work is rooted in my immigrant experience in the United States. I
portray the criminalization of migration, definitions of citizenship,
bi-culturalism, and how cultural identity is perceived by some in this time
of division and rising nationalism. I begin by drawing from my imagination
then, later, from photographs, combining the two to create a macro
migration narrative. Geographically, the imagery combines fictional and
actual moments on the US-Mexican border; I emphasize what life is like for
undocumented persons in the United States.




*Faculty Maria de Los Angeles' Mural on Life and Hope Fills the Windows of
Pratt Manhattan Campus *

*Article by Allison Meier *

Over several days in early October, the first floor windows of the Pratt
Manhattan campus were filled with vibrant drawings in ink. The painted
mural is a long-term installation by Maria de Los Angeles
BFA Painting ’13 and Visiting Instructor in Foundation, Associate Degrees,
and Continuing and Professional Studies. The New York-based
multidisciplinary artist regularly works with unconventional media. Her
detailed paintings have adorned paper, canvas, and wearable dresses. These
pieces reflect on her own experiences as an immigrant to encourage dialogue
about migration and marginalization in the United States.

“The mural is an homage to life, hope, and freedom,” said de Los Angeles.
“The mural is welcoming with details of mothers with children, children
with butterflies, stars, and people walking around a landscape composed of
roses and other flowers. I like how the reflection of the building across
the street and people walking by appear in the mural and it’s transformed
by the light throughout the day.”

Her kaleidoscopic layers of flora, faces, butterflies, birds, and stars are
embedded with imagery responding to themes of migration, displacement,
identity, and otherness. The painted dresses, worn by the artist or
volunteers in performances and made from recycled materials, have surfaces
that consider the body as a place for social and political discussion,
particularly on biculturalism and confronting stereotypes.

Similarly, the mural brings this discourse to an unexpected place with its
visibility on a busy New York City street. The participation of art in the
community is central to de Los Angeles’s work and the mural engages both
passersby and visitors in the creative work happening at the Pratt
Manhattan campus which also houses the Pratt Manhattan Gallery

“Through this project, Pratt hopes to attract attention to the diverse and
inclusive environment of our Manhattan campus,” said Nsombi B. Ricketts,
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “In addition, Maria de
Los Angeles’s work exemplifies the Institute’s commitment to social
practice and celebration of National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month.”
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