Working from personal narratives, my cultural and geographical background make up the preface of my current body of paintings and drawings. Uprooting from Southern California, specifically the San Gabriel Valley area, and moving to Chicago left me feeling very far removed from my Mexican identity. Chicago being very segregated, I found it difficult to find the environments that brought me a sense of belonging, I felt like a token for Mexican culture in a city where the Mexican population is significantly lower than in Los Angeles. This new found necessity to anchor myself meant that I had to rebuild what I already had back home, and that’s family. Moving 2 thousand miles away from my hometown was a catalyst for a sense of loneliness but simultaneously an opportunity to explore myself without a familiar gaze. Finding my identity slowly shifting from cis to a trans identity, my visual language of Chicano imagery was freshly ignited with a queer flare. This brought me to consider what a non traditionalist image of my people looks like. In both senses of the word, I started to work on a queering of that identity. Leading me to creating the group of characters I call, Los Chromadres, a queer shape shifting group of post-human Chicanxs. The integration of tech with their organic bodies not only symbolizes transformation but longevity of one’s peoples ascension into the future.
About the Artist
Vani Aguilar was born in Southern California to their immigrant father, who migrated from Mexico in 1986, and their Chicana mother. Vani lived in full submergence of Mexican and Chicanx culture up until 2016 when they moved to Illinois to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Where they co-lead the student group Latinxs Unidxs, hosting practicing Artist talks including studio visits for their peers with Guadalupe Rosales. While at SAIC they received multiple grants including the Latinx Visibility Award to attend a course at Oxbow, and the Generational Idea Grant to do research in their father’s hometown in Autlán, Jalisco. Vani is a recent graduate from the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program at SAIC. They are currently located and working out of the south side in Pilsen. Shortly after graduating they exhibited their work in a group show, ENTRECUERPOS at Heaven Gallery and took up a Studio Assistant position with Salvador Jimenez.
© Vani Aguilar