Caleb Duarte, Embassy of the Refugee (Urgent Art (V) 2019 Video loop, Suzanne Lacy Retrospective "We Are Here", Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco Ca. Collaboration with Oaklands Fremont High School Newcomer Educational Support and Transition Program (NEST). 2016-2019. Heydi Rosalinda, Pablo Mendoza , Silvia Maribel Pablo Martín, Micaela Pablo Martín, Gabriela Pablo Mendoza, Francisco Roderico Domingo Domingo, Erick Aguilar.
EMBASSY OF THE REFUGEE
Our ability to create myth in order to understand certain realities is our tradition. Those of us with no economic or political power, exiles and displaced people, turn to the imaginary creation, Embassy of the Refugee, through the collective navigation of the pink ladder.
Embassy of the Refugee is a series of works created by students from Fremont High School’s Newcomer Educational Support and Transition Program (NEST). The students arrived to the United States in 2014 as unaccompanied youth from Guatemala seeking asylum. Artist Caleb Duarte, with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and La Peña Cultural Center, initiated a two-year nomadic studio art program in which he and the students collaborated on sculptural performances that took form at sites throughout the Bay Area, including the Oakland Bart station, the Malcolm X Jazz Festival, the Bay Area Mural Festival, and Bay Area Now 8 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
The work is produced through situational engagement with active sites of social and cultural resistance and it strives to facilitate the expressions of communities-in-movement through a distributed authorship. To that end, the work demands transdisciplinary creative forms in sculpture, performance, public intervention, art education, painting and community-based design practices. These sculptural installations host its authors in confined architectural frameworks such as beds of dirt, and makeshift shelters and towers created out of drywall, fabrics, and cement. Other works, such as Pink Ladder, organize community participation in ceremonial processions that demand a slight moment of hyper-visibility of an otherwise underground community.
In Pink Ladder, a portable object becomes a mobile community action, drawing attention to issues of global migration, social mobility, human endurance, indigenous resistance, and our capacity to transform moments of tragedy into opportunities for healing. The act of caring an oversized ladder through public spaces evokes both the precarity of the students lives and their determination to claim space: Through workshops, interviews and intimate conversations, we collectively develop a visual language that is bold, unapologetic, site specific and in the Latin American surrealist tradition that injects magical realism into moments of uncertainty.Double click to insert body text here ...