Salvador Jiménez-Flores recently displayed an installation work entitled I Am Not Who You Think I Am/No soy queen crees que soy (detail pictured above) at the Grand Rapids Art Museum as a part of ArtPrize 2014, in which a series of fired clay self portraits line the wall in a single line–each with a distinct set of characteristics related to themes of identity, immigration, culture, transition, religion, language, and knowledge.
His work touches on the recurring theme of the relationship between identity and the transition between two cultures: rural Mexico and metropolitan America. Jiménez-Flores’ work began as a way to cope with the move from a small town in Mexico, a transition that was made more difficult by his initial limited grasp of the English language. As he combed his history and his transition in the present for an understanding of his identity, amidst major change and dichotomous cultural experiences, he used art as a means of expressing himself and coming to terms with new experiences that simultaneously looked back at his life in Mexico. He writes:
In my work I document my journey to adapt to living in the United States, while looking back at what I left behind in México. The challenge of being bicultural and bilingual is that I live concurrently in two different worlds. Neither my adaptation to a foreign land nor the return to my motherland will ever be complete. Everywhere, I am a foreigner.
Jiménez-Flores sees himself as an artist-activist who feels a responsibility to his community to address issues that affect them and to use art as a medium through which to express ideas, outrage, motives, memories, even confusion.
Much more work and information can be found at the artist’s website, jimenezdesignart.com.