My work is driven by a demand to be seen and understood while uncovering the layers of my identity as part of four different cultures: Peruvian, German, American, and Mexican. Being a part of multiple cultures has forced me to navigate the process of assimilating into each culture simultaneously, leading often to feelings of alienation. In response, I create tangible objects that explore my past experiences, allowing me to connect with and challenge viewers. I create a visual narrative that reflects the loss of ethnic roots and explores the isolation and confusion felt from multiple cultures, a metaphor for the in-between– discovering a mental space that I have constructed while delving into my personal and familial past. Self-Portraiture allows a form of empowerment and relying on symbolism connects me with my audience in a universal way to challenge the viewer to consider their preconceptions of women of color. My work is a way to turn the colonial gaze upon itself, and regain my power and agency.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in 1988, Chantal Lesley received a BFA from Texas State University in 2021. Her work is mainly autobiographical and self-reflective, often portraying themes of the intangible such as memory, dreams and the retelling of autobiographical stories in a folklore style. Her work has been exhibited throughout Texas and the US. Selected shows include Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX; Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX; Touchstone Gallery, Washington D.C; and Humble Arts Foundation, New York City, NY. In 2021 she was noted as an Honorable Mention for the Lenscratch Student Prize Award, and will be exhibiting her first solo show titled En Medio de la Nostalgia in the summer of 2022. She was recently an artist in residence at LATITUDE in Chicago, IL. Lesley lives and works in Austin, Texas.
© Chantal Lesley