The Department of Art welcomes Fidencio Fifield-Perez, the 2022/23 Dr. Harold R. Adams Artist-in-Residence Fellow
The Department of Art is pleased to announce Fidencio Fifield-Perez as the inaugural Dr. Harold R. Adams Artist-In-Residence Fellow. Fifield-Perez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, but raised in the U.S. after his family migrated. His current work examines borders, edges, and the people who must traverse them. In his work, Fifield-Perez manipulates paper surfaces and maps to refer to the crafts and customs used to celebrate festivals and mourn the dead, which he learned as a child in Oaxaca. For Fifield-Perez, these techniques are a way to reconnect with a time and place no longer present. Creating intricate collages, paintings, and installations, Fifield-Perez grounds the experience of immigration and bureaucracy in material and process, moving at times between rigorous abstraction and sumptuous realism.
From his artist statement:
"My practice focuses on the authority given to paper objects over the people they document. Without state-issued identification, undocumented immigrants rely on ephemera as evidence of our lives and movements within the United States. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) refusal to recognize one's humanity within the country has forced 750,000 young, undocumented people to prove their existence and movements via receipts, report cards, social media posts, and mail to qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This legality of being permeates and informs my practice. Specifically, recent works make use of maps and envelopes, seemingly everyday materials discarded after having fulfilled their purpose.
"I began collecting maps out of a need to investigate and report to USCIS about my entry into the United States in order to qualify for DACA. They became the primary substrate of my practice, which includes painting, printing, and collage. I remove all areas except roads, borders, and text. Intricately cutting and collaging these maps requires the viewer to reconsider their gaze and to challenge the assumed value of materials, labor, and people. The hand-cut paper evokes the crafts and customs taught to me as a child in Oaxaca, Mexico, where these skills are used to still celebrate festivals and to mourn the dead.
"The envelopes from correspondence and relationships with loved ones, lawyers, and government officials have proven my places of residence as supporting documents submitted for applications with USCIS. I reclaim the living spaces implied in these envelopes by painting the plants that have provided my only consistent sense of home as I have moved across the country."
The Dr. Harold R. Adams Artist-In-Residence Fellowship program for visiting artists is a new and exciting opportunity in which a diverse array of artists from around the nation and around the world will come to the University of Minnesota for a one- to two-year appointment, engaging with graduate and advanced level undergraduate students. In addition to teaching, each Fellow will also engage in artistic research alongside the full-time faculty and contribute to departmental service. The faculty have designed the Fellowship to rotate across the department's four areas, eventually bringing in new and exciting voices to every area of our department. This Fellowship is self-sustaining, so it will always be active.
In a sense, it adds a new Art faculty voice to campus every one to two years. Over time, this Fellowship will bring in a diverse group of artists to engage with the students in the Department of Art: sharing their lived experience with our student body, helping students find their artistic voice, and bringing a constant stream of creativity and vitality to the Department of Art for years to come.