The immigrant experience is one that is both universal and intensely personal. In her exhibit "Made in Colombia," artist Cecilia Moreno-Yaghoubi explores the immigrant experience and the self-discovery that succeeds displacement. Using found objects, such as dolls, shoes, and clothing, the Colombian native creates her installations.
Morena-Yaghoubi felt pressure to assimilate when she moved to the U.S. and has used found objects as a way to preserve her identity and integrity as an immigrant. Her installation is meant to evoke the emotional upheaval felt by those who come from a foreign land to live in this country. The artist agreed to answer some questions for Cultist in a Q&A after the jump:
New Times: What was your purpose with this exhibit?
Cecilia Moreno-Yaghoubi: I'm from Colombia and I want to change the perceptions that most people
have about Colombians. Someone once mentioned, "oh, you're from the
cocaine country?" That changed everything. I decided I would only
continue, from my small corner of the world, to say that Colombia has
other things to offer.
How is Colombian Independence Day meaningful to you?
Most Colombians are patriotic. I want to keep that tradition. More so
for the new generation because I think that if you lose those
traditions, you lose yourself. Because that happened to me. I was trying
to be an American and I lost myself
Why use found objects as your medium?
I've been collecting them for more than 20 years. It's more than just an
art form. For me it's a way of life. The found objects are special for
me. Being from Colombia we didn't throw away a lot of things.
It's a piece that will give people different meanings. People are
attracted to the found objects because it has meaning to them. They see a
photo and say, "my aunt had a photo like that!" It's kind of nostalgic
How do you think your immigration as a Colombian was different from that of other immigrants? Do you try to convey that in your work?
I had to defy the stereotype of the drugs all the time, wherever I was,
going through school. There were times that I lied, said I was from
Ecuador or something. Through my art I gained some self-esteem. My art helped me so much to
find myself and to find my roots and to realize what a beautiful culture
I'm from and how many things it has to offer.
The installation will be set up in the second floor windows of Art
Center (800 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). The exhibit will be on display
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July 8 at 11am through August 8 with a special celebration on July 20
for Colombian Independence Day. The exhibit is free. For more
information, call 305-674-8378 or visit artcentersf.org.