NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois State University student Andrés Dominguez Fernandez curated “Nuestra Gente” meaning “Our People.”
“Everybody here is bringing a little piece, regardless of if it’s shown or not, I think they’re bringing a little piece of their heritage to this space,” said Dominguez Fernandez.
“Nuestra Gente” is an art exhibit at ISU featuring the work of Dominguez Fernandez and his peers. All the student artists have Mexican Heritage allowing visitors to see that their culture is not a monolith.
“As representation goes I feel as though sometimes when people look at Latino artists and they say Mexico, they don’t really understand that even within Mexico, it’s still very diverse,” said Dominguez Fernandez. “I feel like in a very American-centric lens we tend to think that when you say Mexico you think the whole thing.”
Each art label includes a student’s family Mexican state of origin. However, Dominguez Fernandez did not limit the artwork to displaying only Mexican culture.
“It doesn’t have to just be about our culture but you can just make art to make art. You’re an artist before you’re a Latino.”
Natalie Reynoso has two paintings in the exhibit showcasing an interpretation of a bathroom mirror selfie and the feelings she has when she’s in the school library. She said she hopes visitors are amazed and learn something new.
“Just getting to know us a bit more, I think it is really important, and seeing what we can accomplish and all these very unique perspectives,” she said.
Dominguez Fernandez pays homage to his lineage by featuring boots his abuelita gave him. The exhibit is also meaningful to him because some family members didn’t have the opportunity to fully pursue their passion for art.
“It’s not just an experience of the arts that I get to have with myself,” he said. “I see it in a way where it’s an extension of generations and generations of those who wanted to do it. I see all of them as artists.”
The free exhibit will be available for viewing until Oct. 13 in Julian Hall. To see hours of operation click here.