A few nights ago, I had the honor of being the guest speaker at the Huron River Art Collective Speaker Series. I was delighted to share my prints and the process of making them with people from different places via Zoom. Many times we complain about everything that we lost because of the pandemic, because of COVID 19 but the truth is that besides all our terrible, and painful losses we also learned to regroup again, as humans do. Our virtual existence is one that makes us present all around the world at once. It lets us reach far and hold hands with friends from the present and past and share, as in this case: our thoughts, art processes, desires and hopes…
My name is Paloma Núñez-Regueiro, I am a Mexican printmaker based in Ann Arbor, MI. I am also a resident artist at Ypsi Alloy Studios.
The body of work I talked about that night is called “Essays on Invisibility”. Essays on Invisibility is a collection of linoleum prints and monoprints that express my interest in making the invisible visible. The subjects I explore are immigration, social justice, the experience of assimilation, and the experiences of being invisible in a cis-gender and mostly white society.
The protagonist of my series is the Guarumo leaf. The Guarumo is a tree that exists in the south of Mexico and the Caribbean and has great medicinal powers. The leaves fall to the ground and they dry up making these beautiful shapes that make them different from one another. I found these leaves on a trip to Tulum, Mexico; I became fascinated with them. I took many pictures of them and brought them back home. I started drawing them as honestly as possible and found that they contain in their structures mountains and valleys, rivers, noses, vertebrae, carcasses and many more things. The little holes that the crawler made in them while eating, are like little constellations or chemical formulas. I came to believe that these leaves contain the universe in them.
After drawing and carving around 10 of these leaves, I realized that if I created an environment or a context around them they will help me create this series that talks about the invisible: the immigrants, the poor, the LGBTQ, the black community or anyone that does not fit the established standard of normality in their own settings.
Legal or illegal, able or not able to make a comfortable living, minority groups are somehow invisible, a lesser human. Because we are different, many times people don’t know how to approach us and that gives rise to micro aggressions, physical aggression and violent crimes. These experiences leave us thinking of our value to society and are a constant reminder of how undervalued we are.
I like the idea of using an overlooked element of the environment that contains such beauty and healing powers, that is fragile and yet strong as the minorities I am talking about: the invisible. When we don’t take the time to look, these leaves become an invisible element of the environment and their beauty becomes unseen.
In “Essays on Invisibility”, I am trying to interpret the effort of minority groups to remain, to take on opportunities offered by their surroundings, to become visible and therefore included in society. It’s my goal to acknowledge the feelings of those who feel invisible, to uncover our pain through my prints, and offer it to the spectator in a way so that he/she/they can open their hearts to the possibilities which can range from listening to their ideas, to working together and raising each other into better positions that will allow for political, economic, and emotional stability in our communities.
I want to cordially invite you to see these prints in person . All these prints will be available for view on January 8th, 2022 at Hatch Art Gallery in Hamtramck, MI. There will be a reception from 6-9 pm on that day, and then the gallery will be open Thursday through Friday from 6-9 and Saturdays from 12-6pm.
Thank you to the Huron River Art Collective for giving me the opportunity to share my work with you, and for the labor spreading the love for the arts, for bringings artists and art lovers together, and for creating this sense of community beyond the physical world.