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  • Writer's pictureagprat


As a scientist and artist émigré from Latin America, I have often meditated about how much impact being an immigrant has had on my identity and thus, in my art.

During most of my childhood in Argentina, I lived under a military dictatorship, which influenced me to be cautious… I was trained to avoid talking politics in public or anything that questioned the status quo, and to take as perfectly normal, for example, if the police asked for my ID while walking on the street, or if officers searched my backpack while entering my school. At home, I was raised by a loving yet conservative mother, whose expectations and mandates I frequently was not aligned with. These early influences modeled my behavior in my early days.

Years later, as an immigrant and later a citizen in USA, I have often wondered: Who am I? Who is my real me? During much of my life, I felt fragmented… I had to learn to navigate two worlds at once, past and present; Latin American and USA; science and art; expected and dreamt; silenced and free… This feeling of being fragmented has appeared regularly in my paintings, which often were literally cut into panels and rearranged as if I was trying to make sense of the identity dilemma that my dualities created. I am adaptable and my reflections have allowed me to evolve…

I explored these thoughts and the associated emotions in a recent painting, “Fragmented”, that was accepted to the “Across Cultures: Invisible Ties and Journeys to Hope” exhibit at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown MA. The featured artworks in the exhibit, juried by artist Rania Matar, explore ideas of displacement, migration and immigration. My mixed media painting was created with acrylic and oil paint, oil sticks and oil-based markers, and is evocative of maps, paths, and intersections - some organized and some erratic. The abstract image holds my poem, “Fragmented”, that explores my feelings as an immigrant, that reads as follows:

“You live your days in two worlds… to remain alive you MUST fragment yourself… Nature - always - and curiosity (often) find ways to bloom and build homes in your mind defying the charted territories imposed in the early milk. New topographies appear as new codes and riddles appear in your path. So much passion has to find a way to blossom without making you explode into pieces…”

Image: “Fragmented”, mixed oil media on canvas, 18 x 18 inches. So honored that this painting was juried into the “Across Cultures: Invisible Ties and Journeys to Hope”, currently on view at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown MA, until June 30th. The juried show was beautifully reviewed at the May/June issue of the Artscope magazine in an article that featured my painting! If you have questions or comments about this artwork or others on my website or Instagram, please contact me here.

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