SFUAD faculty member and practicing artist Daisy Quezada has been commissioned along with 13 other Latino artists to create an exhibition for the Denver Art Museum. The exhibition, Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place, contains art from a wide range of mediums, from large installations to paintings to video to tissue paper, piñata-style pieces. Quezada’s installation includes a segment of the actual U.S.-Mexico border wall, audio components and a porcelain piece created with the students in Santa Fe and Aurora, Colorado. “I worked in the community here…at Monte del Sol [charter school] with some of the students there talking about immigration and how it’s impacting them,” Quezada says. “And I also worked with a program…called DAVA [Downtown Aurora Visual Arts]. I did a workshop with them where we kind of just talked about who we were, we talked about journey with them, and we did audio interviews and that audio is being spliced with the segments of the audio I took from the U.S.-Mexico border area.”
While this installation was commissioned for the DAM, Quezada’s work in the past has also dealt with different cultural relationships and how they interact. “I was interested in… that gray space where two countries might oppose each other, or two areas that are contradicting, fall in or intersect,” Quezada says. “That theme of immigration is a point of crossing those two spaces and that’s what’s driven a lot of my work.” This installation, titled Displazamiento Contención, or Displacement and Containment, “deals with the displacement and containment of immigrant communities within the United States.” The pieces were commissioned long before the recent controversial executive actions regarding immigration, but Quezada feels that the coincidence of her installation allows her to “have these conversations with the students that I’m working with and that can unfold in other ways, in greater ways. I think it is very fortunate to be able to have a work or a practice that falls into something that is really relevant.”
Quezada not only teaches Freshman Studio classes and works as the Studio Arts administrative assistant at SFUAD, she is an alumna. Quezada first attended the College of Santa Fe and after a break from the school during the ownership transition, returned to SFUAD and graduated with a BFA in Studio Arts in 2012. Immediately after graduation, she was accepted on a full ride to the University of Delaware. “I continued studying, which I think was beneficial for me and how my practice is unfolding,” Quezada says. “I feel like if I had ceased and continued working, because I was working like three jobs when I was a student as most students are, I would have probably kept on doing the same thing and I would have fallen into that cycle.” The change of place, while jarring and isolating, allowed Quezada to explore her practice and develop her art further. “As hard as it was being in Delaware, I’m very thankful I went there.”
The connection to the DAM came through an acquaintance who knew the contemporary art curator of the museum. “The curator was looking for Latino artists and I guess it’s just having conversations with people on a day-to-day basis, telling them what it is that you’re doing,” Quezada says. “The person who connected me talked to her about my art and then another individual brought me up in a conversation so we were introduced via email and everything else kind of unfolded.”
Quezada’s success as a young artist can be traced back to her determination to be honest to herself and her work. “I know it’s really hard at times but I think as long as your passion and your heart is where it needs to be, things unfold for themselves…That’s what’s helped me, being honest with myself and who I am and not diverging from that.”
Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place is open at the Denver Art Museum from Feb. 19 through Oct. 22, 2017. SFUAD’s Studio Arts Department will be providing transportation to view the exhibition on March 31.