Rose de Buenos Aires
Acrylic & mixed media on panel,
24"h x 12"w, Item No. 15152,
This piece was created in my studio in Buenos Aires-- one of my favorite cities in the world- where I have lived for months at a time. The piece was created for a solo exhibition in San Telmo, Buenos Aires, and remained there for some time. Thus, it has only been recently that the piece has shown in the US for the first time.
Rose was one of many women and girls whom I met personally, showed them my work, and asked if I could portray them. Leticia y Andrea, Beatriz y Makaya, are among many such examples as well. Rose is an Asian-Argentinian-- a girl born in Buenos Aires to Chinese parents. I became very interested in the many Chinese immigrants, and the 2nd and 3rd generations now growing up there, and how they are viewed and perceived in the larger culture. Unfortunately, widespread prejudice and discrimination exist against this demographic. Thus, I created a series of works celebrating women and girls in Buenos Aires called "Portenas"; I included Rose to make the statement that Asian Argentinians are no less Argentine than anyone else, and I hoped the piece would prompt viewers to look at their own assumptions. Sure enough, the hundreds of Argentinains who attended the exhibition loved the work, and overwhelming asked "who is the Chinese girl?" Or "Quien es la Turista?" Or "Extranjera", "Pasajera", or even "La China?". Though Rose was born in Buenos Aires, no one thought of her as being from there or belonging there...
In the background of the piece is the quintessentially Buenos Aires urbanscape: the famous Avenida 9 de Julio with its Odalisque. I used lots of packaging from Buenos Aires: Fragata matchbooks (with a ship-- that speaks to immigration issues), a catering menu written in Chinese, old Argentine comics, candy wrappers, an airport taxi ticket, Tango class schedule, etc.