Natalia Arbelaez

Natalia Arbelaez

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Off Campus

Paul Brach Visiting Artist Lecture Series

“My work takes the place of a storyteller, from my personal narratives of my Colombian family’s immigration to the research of pre-Columbian South American presence, to my American, latchkey, afterschool cartoon upbringing. Each of these identities plays a role in my work to illustrate a selfportrait of what it is like to be a Mestizo, Colombian, and American hybrid. I combine these stories with research, familial narratives, and cartoon embellishments that create surreal stories. A way to autobiographically narrate history with its ups and downs of humor and tears. I use my work to research undervalued histories, such as, Latin American, Amerindian, and Women of Color. I work with how these identities are lost through conquest, migration, and time, gained through family, culture, exploration, and passed down through tradition, preservation, and genetic memory. In my research I have found value in my histories and aim to help continue my cultures by preserving and honoring them. I’ve embraced my use of craft and clay not only in my process but also in historical and cultural research. In my researching of lost, conquered, and overlooked communities, I have found that craft belongs in my pursuit. I relate to the role of the craftsperson, often linked to women’s work, working class, and cultural tradition. The material also plays an important role as I examine the history of my ancestral material. Like how Terra-cotta has been seen historically as a lesser material and Majolica glaze brought over from Europe and used as a surface to hide terra-cotta, metaphors I use describe colonization.”

All lectures are free, open to the public, and presented online. RSVP required. 

To register, please email with the subject RSVP PBVALS.