Expecting To Fly-16 / by Lorraine García-Nakata

There’s been a lot going on this year. One of the most interesting events for me was the fact that Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, took interest in my artistic work in the areas of visual art and literature. Being a member of the Royal Chicano Air Force since 1973 (RCAF-a renowned artist collective based in Sacramento, California) further peeked their attention. As an artist that navigates three disciplines, the scope and depth of Cornell’s interest in my work was important to me on several levels. 

Professor Ella Díaz, Cornell University and artist in lab coat, Lorraine García-Nakata 2013

In the Spring of this year, I was contacted by Professor Ella Díaz, with Department of Literature at Cornell University. Professor Díaz informed me of an exhibit she was curating and asked if I would agree to lend for this exhibit two specific larges scale drawings of mine, a diptych entitled “Facio Nova Omnia: Indigena/Colonial” and "Facio Nova Omnia: Indigena." 

Son, Kanichi García-Nakata assisting installation of "Facio Nova Omnia" diptych, Photo: 2013

As the exhibition curator of “If Gender Is A Kind Of Doing,” Professor Díaz focused on exploration of the female form and only included the work seven female artists: Regina José Galindo Lorraine García-Nakata, Deborah Roberts, Rye Purvis, Laura lucía Sanz, Ana Teresa Fernández, and Elizabeth "oscar" Maynard. Unlike large group exhibitions that establish a broad theme and involve many artists, Professor Díaz explored our work in more depth and in relation to the curatorial theme she had established. I particularly appreciated her astute curatorial statement that was grounded in areas of her research. This is often absent in many exhibit curatorial statements. So, I agreed to lend these pieces.

Artists included: Regina José Galindo, Lorraine García-Nakata, Deborah Roberts, Rye Purvis, Laura Lucía Sanz, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Elizabeth "Oscar" Maynard April 9-May, 2013 Mission Cultural Center Galleries, 2868 Mission Street, San Francisco, California

Exhibiting artists: Elizabeth Oscar Maynard, Lorraine García-Nakata, Deborah Roberts, Ana Teresa Fernandez, (Not Pictured): Rye Purvis, Laura Lucía Sanz, Regina José Galindo. (Artwork of Lorraine García-Nakata in photo)-Lorraine García-Nakata Photo Album 2013

Later in the year, Professor Díaz decided to initiate a Cornell University Graduate Seminar solely dedicated to studying my work, both literary and visual art. In just a few weeks, this graduate session will result in nine separate academic research papers that have been authored by participating Cornell graduate students. To support their research, I committed a significant amount of time this summer compiling materials on my work and forwarding this information to Professor Díaz for reference (images, descriptions, writings, and other reference materials). Soon I’ll begin to see their writings and I’m excited by the prospect. It isn’t often that an artist’s work is explored within an academic setting and with this depth.

Recently, I received Professor Díaz’s own writing about my work. In this writing, Professor Díaz reviewed the various artistic stages and related series that I’ve created from the early period of 1970’s through 2005. In a note to Ella I shared that it was remarkable to finally have someone really see, experience, capture, and communicate important aspects of my work. I know the subject of academic writing may seem dry, but to an artist, to me, it’s an important moment.

Specifically, the graduate research papers will be published electronically as part of an upcoming on-line solo exhibition entitled “Lorraine García-Nakata: Navigating By Hand" and organized by Betsy Miller Andersen, Director with the Museo Eduardo Carrillo. This exhibit was organized in collaboration with Cornell University and will include examples of my work, a curatorial statement authored by Professor Díaz, and will also offer a link to the Cornell graduate research papers. I’m thrilled that these papers have been written and that they will be available for public view. Along with Professor Díaz's Curatorial Statement for the "Navigating By Hand" exhibit, the additional research papers will provide an interesting lens upon which to view, digest, and experience my work over time.

My next post will provide a link to this solo exhibition "Lorraine García-Nakata: Navigating By Hand." For now, I share two excerpts from the curatorial statement written by Cornell University Professor Ella Díaz:

"Having addressed childhood, adolescent rites of passage, familial lines of descent, and the socio-historical diaspora, Lorraine’s artwork also engages the spiritual realm and her faith and hope in it, despite the unexplained and unknown factors of the afterlife."

“An introspective body of work on the components of identity that comprise one’s world and make it worth living, 'Navigating By Hand' offers viewers the story of Lorraine García-Nakata. And if viewers look closely and deeply, they will also find pieces of their own life stories reflected back”

Will chat with you again soon,


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