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Esperanza Cortés
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Williamsburg

ARTIST STATEMENT: My interest in the folk art traditions, art rituals, music and dance of Latin America, The Caribbean and Africa and their continuous, evolving changes are at the core of my sculptures, paintings, installations and interventions. I utilize a wide variety of materials and artistic methods often in combination with reworked found objects that are impregnated with cultural symbols that act as sites of memory. These hand crafted artworks create an intimate repository for individual and collective memory and implement the human body as a symbol and expression of nature, vulnerability and power. My recent work examines the extent to which a consciousness, national or personal, defines itself through the opposing force of a transcultural experience. Physicality informs my practice through body memory. As a former afro latin dancer, my work seeks to underscore and use sacred space and the patterns of dance and percussion. I use music and fragments of histories as departure points to investigate and build the structure and space of the installations. Esperanza (hope) is a guiding force in the making of the work, which is a call and response to people, culture, place and history. My installations which are organic and improvisational constructions are infused with hope and renewal. My artwork which is poetically and intricately crafted encourages viewers to reconsider social and historical narratives especially when dealing with Colonialism and raises critical questions about the politics of erasure and exclusion.

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  • La Cordobesa
    2016 - 2017
    Embroidery, glass beads, 20th century upper chair from New Orleans, 19th century chair legs from Utica NY.
    48" x 22' x 26"
    This work is inspired by my cousin who was called La Cordobesa, she had been the youngest female bullfighter in Latin America. The sculpture is informed by the suit of lights worn by Bullfighters.

  • Flora and Fauna
    Clay, chain, metal base
    36" x 20" diameter
    Flora and Fauna mourns the Indigenous and African populations massacred for the retrieval of wealth in Latin America. These objects serve as a metaphor for the cruel system of oppression and violence

  • Second Sight
    2008 - 2018
    Table, mirror, glass beads on 20 clay sculptures
    54” L x 36” H x 20” D
    Second Sight honors the Curandera (healer) in Latinx culture as a whole, as well as the personal connection to my grandmothers who were both curanderas in Colombia. These individuals dedicated their l

  • Arrested Symphony
    oil and encaustic on wood panels, metal chains on clay sculpture, semi precious stones
    5' L x 3' w x 4" d
    Arrested Symphony addresses the use of assassination which has been and continues to be employed as a cleansing method for political and corporate motives to control countries in South America, Centra

  • Vigilante
    Eye portraits, watercolor on watercolor paper, lamé ribbon
    7' x 6'
    Vigilante in Spanish means to watch or guard. In this country the meaning has been twisted to mean an unofficial group who preys, catch and punish someone who they assumed committed a crime. The histo

  • Untitled

  • La Dorada
    Clay sculpture, metal beads
    60”L x 18” W x 5” D
    LA DORADA addresses the dilemma of the artisanal gold miners in Colombia, many who are women that say that they have been mining since they were in their mothers bellies. These miners are in jeopardy

  • OJO
    2013 - 2017
    Watercolor and gouache on paper
    12' diameter

  • Empire
    Gold leafed chandelier, gold plated chains, gold plated beads
    14' x 6' diameter

  • A Charmed Life
    2008 - 2012
    frescoes, chair, brocade pillow, glass beads, alabaster beads, metal beads, metal chains,
    7’ x 7’ x 4.5’

  • La Minera
    Clay sculpture, chains
    40" L x 8" W x 4" D
    La Minera addresses the dilemma of the artisanal gold miners in Colombia, many whom are women that say that they have been mining since they were in their mothers bellies. They are in jeopardy of losi

  • Tunisia
    clay, glass beads, bells, leather, cord
    22"w x 66"L x 3" d
    I traveled to Tunisia in my early 20's. I met a family who had been slaves for generations. They had finally attained their freedom in the early 1970's. Even though slavery in Tunisia was ab

  • Aftermath
    Clay sculpture, chains
    20' x 68" x 6'

  • Colonial Blues
    oil and encaustic on wood panels, metal chains on clay sculpture, brass chains, brass candle holders, wood, candles,
    10' H x 15' W x 6' W

  • November 22
    Clay sculpture, glass beads, metal beads, base
    24” H x 12” W x 12” D
    November 22 is the date of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It is also my birthday. That coincidence formed and marked my political and esthetic views.

  • Cumbia
    Clay, emerald shell chips. wood
    20” L x 24” H x 20” W
    “Cumbia” takes its name from the Afro-Latin dance and music which originated in Colombia's Caribbean coastal region around 1648 and was originally danced in shackles.

  • Black Gold
    Clay sculpture, chains
    7'L x 2' H x 1' D
    The imbedded metal chains that cover Black Gold shimmer in artificial light, and convey a dark truth about their origin. These objects serve as a metaphor for the cruel system of oppression and violen

  • The Couple
    chairs, pearl necklaces, rings, knitting needles, glass beads, metal beads
    48” x 36” x 22”
    The Couple examines the incarnation of religion, political ideologies that shape our experiences as individuals and communities, especially our experiences with love.

  • What was left
    2008 - 2013
    chandelier, gold leaf, metal chains, glass beads, metal beads, brass embroidered velvet
    13' h x 4' diameter
    Around the world today, conflict is found in many areas that were once colonized or controlled by Europeans for their natural resources. The source of many of these conflicts, lies in past colonial po

  • Without
    Cay, string
    80" x 80"
    Bernard Bailyn the great historian has pointed out in The Barbarous Years, details of the terror, desperation, degradation and widespread torture. Which created the blood-dimmed tide, the brutal estab

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Brooklyn, NY 11217


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