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Balancing Act deals with my experience as a brown woman in academia and in art institutions. The videos questions what types of bodies are allowed to exist in these spaces and how bodies that differ from the norm are perceived, harshly judged, and made to be a spectacle. Institutions want and welcome this spectacle as long as it conforms to the rules of the game.
The struggle in the work that I do is such: How do you bring up history and ideas of oppression and trauma without making a spectacle out of it? Is it possible to do this with the loaded and problematic histories of museums and academic institutions? Are there ways that my brown body can thrive and mold a space for myself and others?
The videos in Balancing Act represent a back and forth dance and the negotiations of what is like to exist in these institutions. They point out that as I attempt to reshape and question these spaces, they shape me as well. Some of the videos acknowledge the complicated layers and histories of my identity and difficulty that it is to balance it all. Some of them act as joyous and enjoyable defiant acts, while others point at the exploitative nature of these institutions.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Lorena Molina is a Salvadoran multidisciplinary artist and educator. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Cincinnati. Through the use of photography, video, performance and installation, she explores identity, intimacy, pain, and how we witness the suffering of others.
At the core of her work is an exploration of spatial inequalities and the challenges that oppressed groups face in constructing place and establishing a sense of belonging. Her work is driven by the displacement experienced after a 12-year-old civil war in El Salvador forced her family to migrate to the United States. Her current work looks at identity in the margins. She views the margins both as a place where extreme violence and pain happens, but also as a place for resisting, dreaming, healing, and thriving.
She received her Master of Fine Art degree from the University of Minnesota in 2015 and her Bachelor of Fine Art from California State University, Fullerton, in 2012. Molina has been a recipient of the Diversity of Views and Experiences Fellowship, The Christopher Cardozo Fellowship, Truth and Reconciliation Grant, and The Kala Art Institute fellowship. She has exhibited and performed her work both nationally and internationally.
More Info: lorenamolina.com / @beingmoli