No One Touches the Nopal Until It Bears Fruit

No One Touches the Nopal Until It Bears Fruit, Acrylic on envelopes, collograph, 2017

Fidencio Fifield-Perez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, but raised in the U.S. after his family migrated. His current work examines the debate over borders, edges, and the people who must traverse through them. In his work, Fifield-Perez manipulates paper, surfaces, and maps to refer to the crafts and customs taught to him as a toddler in Oaxaca—ones used to celebrate festivals and to mourn the dead. For Fifield-Perez these techniques are a way to reconnect with a time and place no longer present.

Fifield-Perez received his MA & MFA from the University of Iowa in 2015 and is now based out of Des Moines. Recent group exhibitions include the Smithsonian's "Art Intersections: Asian Latino Pop Up Gallery;" "Fresh Prints: The Nineties to Now at the Cleveland Museum of Art;" "DUMA Biennial" at the Dubuque Museum of Art; "The Annual" at the Chicago Artist Coalition; "Somewheres & Nowheres: New Prints 2014" at the International Print Center New York; and "Fronteras/Frontiers" currently on view at the Beach Museum of Art.

In his own words:

At the age of seven, I was smuggled across the United States border. My parents' desperate choice to move our family to the United States was for economic and safety reasons. Above all they simply wanted to give their child better opportunities. The result of that initial journey is a regulated and uncertain future imposed upon physical bodies.

My practice currently focuses on the authority given to paper objects over the people they document. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services' refusal to recognize one's humanity within the country has forced 750,000 undocumented people to prove their existence and movements via receipts, report cards, Facebook posts, and mail. Without state-issued identification, young undocumented immigrants rely on ephemera as evidence of our lives within the United States through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Specifically, my recent works make use of maps, envelopes, seemingly everyday materials discarded after having fulfilled their purpose.

In my work, I choose cutting paper and other surfaces as a primary technique because it evokes the crafts and customs taught to me as a toddler in Oaxaca, Mexico, where these skills are still used to celebrate festivals and to mourn the dead. I cut and rearrange maps, paintings, and prints to portray what or who has too often been forgotten.

Fidencio Fifield-Perez online

This page was first displayed
on November 13, 2017

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