Build what we hate. Destroy what we love.

curated by Fabiola R. Delgado

Ronald Pizzoferrato, PLOMO SERIES 22, 2019
  • This information will be updated.
Over 7.1 million Venezuelans (25% of its population) have left their country since 2015 and continue to do so, making it the largest migration crisis recorded in the Americas and one of the largest in the world. Venezuela has become a synonym of political crisis; appropriate, given that etymologically, the word "political" means people. And the crisis Venezuelans are experiencing isn't a result of outsider interventions, but it's made by its own citizens, everyday. The downward spiral fueled by skyrocketing hyperinflation, power cuts, rampant insecurity, and shortages of food and medicine, can only be relieved by everyday small acts of corruption and violence.

This exhibition engages deeply with the narratives of Venezuelan migrants, especially those who've been historically decentered from society, through a navigation of language and material culture of both exiles and "insiles", amplifying their voices and offering a critical view of the official rhetoric of the country's government and para-government. — Through visual storytelling, the artists articulate the social and cultural components that make up this mass exodus, focusing on what they bring with them and what they leave behind.

One of the artists concentrates on textile memory through clothing artifacts of Venezuelan migrants. They explore the relationship between the clothes, their journey, and the identity exchanges that develop from the relocation process, which the artist calls "Maps of Displacement". Presented as large-scale heavy weavings that hang from the ceiling and seem to effortlessly float mid-air, the pieces are accompanied by written testimonies of some of the people whose clothes were transformed into the artwork. By contrasting the objects with personal recounts, we emphasize the humanity behind the pieces, exposing a living archive of individual stories that form a collective history.

A second artist takes an experimental documentary approach, blending photojournalism with music video flair to create infectious arrangements of the severe ethno-economic conditions that spark the Venezuelan exodus phenomenon, commenting on the urgency and ingenuity of those most marginalized by the system. The video series proposes the idea that violence permeates every aspect of Venezuelan society and it's fundamental to its overall structure and sustenance of daily life. It examines people's endurance, resourcefulness, and one consequence of forced displacement: people's belongings being abandoned along the way as their border-crossing trek becomes more strenuous. Things once considered irreplaceable become a burden in the path of the objects.

A third artist studies the repercussions that personal, intimate memories have over the national history line. They create multiple scale photographic installations by deliberately intervening archives to portray images of fragmented family chronicles while reconstructing cherished recollections. The actions of cutting, slicing, ripping off and then mending together the pieces, mirrors the experience of millions of immigrants who've left all possessions in their origin countries, and are compelled to perpetuate their histories by preserving their memories.

*The text above was submitted to apexart's 2023-24 NYC Open Call, and rated by over 700 jurors. Any specific artists mentioned are unconfirmed and subject to change.
Fabiola R. Delgado is a Venezuelan Curator and Creative Consultant based in Washington DC. Formerly a Human Rights Lawyer and a political asylum seeker, she dedicates herself to finding justice through artistic and cultural expressions, striving for thought-provoking projects that recenter perspectives and encourage intergenerational creative learning.

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the National Endowment for the Arts, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Kettering Family Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, The Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.