Chashama and White Toy Box are proud to present Esperanza de Otro Mundo Posible/Hope of Another Possible World, a multimedia exhibition featuring works by artists Francisco Donoso and Maria De Los Angeles. Born in Ecuador and Mexico respectively and both recipients of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Donoso’s and De Los Angeles’ work explores ideas of placement, migration and the experience of being an undocumented immigrant in the United States. Through their work as artists and educators, they investigate the systemic problems with immigration, touching on how conversations surrounding this issue are often intertwined with racism, xenophobia, classicism and colonialism.
While both artists are informed by similar subject matter, they tackle ideas about the psychological experience of being undocumented from very different approaches. Maria De Los Angeles uses her drawings, paintings and garment works to illustrate moments of her own experience and scenes, both literal and imagined, of immigrant families at the border, zooming in on the emotional experience of separation and displacement. Often utilizing humor and a sunny palette, she humanizes and complicates the stories that are misrepresented in the media: where there is fear and loss, there is also tenderness and light. On the other hand, Francisco Donoso’s work manifests through a more abstract approach, as he creates mixed-media paintings, collages and installations that question the authority and agency of maps and borders, as if zooming out to show an aerial view. His work touches on the absurdity of these separations, mediating on how the land that has been carved up into countries and nations was created by those who were also ironically, from places they were not born. Both Donoso’s and De Los Angeles’ perspectives prove to be essential for understanding the moment we are in right now, as they question the original structures that created this system and examine the results of it--the human toll, the fear, the intimacy, the desire to belong somewhere.
In creating an immersive environment, the artists invite viewers to experience the exhibition in a physical way, one in which simultaneously encourages discovery and challenges the narrative of Dreamers as a monolithic experience. They explore what it means to build a home and community in a country that continually demands that they prove their humanity. Donoso and De Los Angeles challenge the respectability politics involved in the immigrant narrative, rejecting the “good” immigrant/ “bad” immigrant dichotomy. They refuse to simplify their stories, to make themselves more palatable and digestible and instead present their experiences in their full complexity: joy, nuance and beauty being represented as clearly as pain and struggle is.
In his book, “Dear America: Notes from an Undocumented Citizen,” Jose Antonio Vargas writes, “This book is the closest thing I have to freedom.” In a similar manner, it is clear to see that Donoso and De Los Angeles too gain a sense of freedom through their artistic practices, which give them the physical and mental space to imagine alternate worlds and futures. United in their beliefs that hoping, dreaming and making are all radical acts, Esperanza de Otro Mundo Posible/Hope of Another Possible World reflects their efforts to actively create one, showcasing every part; unashamed, unapologetic and unafraid.
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About Francisco Donoso
Francisco Donoso was born in Quito, Ecuador and grew up in Miami, Florida. After attending the prestigious New World School of the Arts, he received his BFA in Painting & Drawing from Purchase College, SUNY. In 2012 he was a fellow at the New York Center for Art and Media Studies and in 2013 a Van Lier Fellow at Wave Hill. He was also the Artist in Residence at Stony Brook University and named a Hot Picks artist by Smack Mellon in 2014 & 2018 and has participated in the Artist in the Marketplace program at The Bronx Museum. Francisco has exhibited throughout NY, Berlin, and Miami and continues to work and exhibit in NYC. He is also the Program Coordinator for the Parsons Scholars Program, where he explores the intersections of art, education and social justice.
For more about Francisco, please visit him online at https://www.franciscodonoso.com or @fdonoso88
About Maria de Los Angeles
Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Maria de Los Angeles is a New York City-based multidisciplinary artist who addresses issues of migration, displacement, identity, and otherness through her drawing, painting, printmaking, and fashion. She holds an MFA in Painting & Printmaking from Yale School of Art (2015), a BFA in Painting from Pratt Institute (2013), and an Associateʼs degree in painting from Santa Rosa Junior College (2010). She was awarded the Blair Dickinson Memorial Prize by Yale University (2015) for her artwork and her role in the community. She has been a Resident Artist at several notable institutions such as El Museo del Barrio, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Mana Contemporary and the Schneider Museum of Art with whom she recently had a solo show exhibition. She has exhibited in group shows with John Jay College of Criminal Justice, St. Johnʼs University, Robert Mann Gallery, and E.TAY Gallery. She recently participated in a panel discussion on xenophobia and deportation in America at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. Her work has been featured in Hyperallergic, NYMag, HelloGiggles and the Observer. She is a visiting Faculty at Pratt Institute, where her work was on view in the exhibition Contextualizing Fashion. Currently De Los Angeles is a VAST Visiting Artist and Teaching Resident for Printmaking at SOU for the term. Her work is on view at the Schneider Museum of Art in the faculty exhibition From Ignorance to Wisdom curated by Blake Shell.
Maria may also be followed on Instagram @delosangelesart.