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Cristian Pineda
West New York, NJ



ARTIST STATEMENT: My work comes from my past and from memories. As a boy in Ecuador, I sold fruit in the markets of Guayaquil and used canvas to hold and display the produce on the floor. Over the years, the bruised papayas, bananas, and watermelons left their marks on the canvas. The memories of that stained canvas have been a guiding force in my paintings. My process has been to delve into memories from my childhood, dissect them and reassemble them into a visual glimpse of my past, the past of an immigrant living in the United States. These paintings are part of a 70,000-word memoir manuscript that narrates my trip to the United States in 1995 as a 16 year-old illegal immigrant kid. A dog is also a theme that wanders through my body of work both pictorial and literary. He represents my beloved childhood pet, Oso, a major character in my memoir-painting project. When he fought other dogs in the slums of Guayaquil, he would come home with vibrant blood stains all over his muzzle, it became his war mask. I myself portray myself as a monkey in my painting works; thatís what people in my city have been affectionately called for centuries. The Venus flytrap which feeds on insects is also a recurring motif in my paintings. This insignificant small plant, which must survive on repulsive insects, reflects the life of the newly arrived immigrant to the United States, especially the undocumented immigrant. The way a carnivorous plant stretches itself and longs for something so insignificant like a fly, is my metaphor of how illegals are perceived in our society today.
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