While the cultures are different, the challenges of mass dispersions are very much the same and have made headlines in recent months, most notably in Syria. Darice Polo, visiting artist in the West Virginia University School of Art and Design, will explain how she portrays those experiences through art during her Visiting Artist Lecture Oct. 13.
Polo’s work explores the history of the Puerto Rican diaspora in New York. She began this exploration using vintage photographs and 8mm film stills of her Puerto Rican ancestors as the basis for her drawings.
“The layered and diffused quality of the applied graphite tricks the viewer’s eye into believing the drawings are photographs,” said Polo. “As the viewer’s perception shifts and the work is seen as a drawing, its formal qualities bring reflection and meaning to a historically marginalized Latino culture.”
The exhibit also examines time and movement through the replication of film stills in her work. The playful character studies of her ancestors in New York prompt the viewer to shift their focus to the challenges of displacement and to the meaning of the symbols of freedom they encountered.
Polo is currently producing A Wise Latina Woman, a film in which Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor serves as the catalyst for a critical discussion about the ramifications of the United States’ involvement in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Contained within these pressing issues are portrayals of pastoral landscapes and a longing for the warm embrace of the Puerto Rican people and culture of my youth,” said Polo.
Polo’s lecture will begin at 5 p.m. in Bloch Learning and Performance Hall, 200A, of the Creative Arts Center with a reception to follow. The event is free and open to the public.
Polo's lecture coincides with her solo exhibition, “Migration”, running Oct. 13 – Nov. 11 in the Laura Mesaros Gallery, open noon – 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.