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BFA Student Pablo Cruz-Ayala Awarded Art Residency and Exhibition this Summer

Conquest of Teotihuacan, Pablo Cruz-Ayala

Pablo Cruz-AyalaPainting & Drawing BFA student Pablo Cruz-Ayala was awarded an artist residency at the Leonardo in Salt Lake City for the month of July. While at the residency, he created new works to be shown in an exhibition at Finch Lane Gallery opening on August 18. All visitors are invited to experience the interactive community based exhibition, with those willing to take part in the research portion of the exhibition will be compensated with a unique original wood block print to commemorate their contribution to bridging art and community health.

Cruz-Ayala was born in Guadalajara-Mexico and raised in Utah since the age of five. He is currently in his third year at the University of Utah double majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Fine Arts: Painting and Drawing.

I explore the intersections between my Mexican/American heritage, my status as an undocumented immigrant, and my relationships in community and land through the medium of visual art. I explore the long-lasting impacts of the Spanish colonization of Mexico in my latest series of la Malinche. I am personifying the Latin American cultural identity to deconstruct the complex and sometimes paradoxical nature of culture after erasure. I enjoy connecting visual elements from remaining artifacts of Pre-Colombian Indigenous South American cultures to reinterpret contemporary western art/cultural standards. The Popol Vuh and Latin American codexes heavily influence the subject, surface treatment, and pattern applications through my works and give me material to recontextualize classical art themes of power and authority. This series allows me to expand on my identity and walk-through internal conflicts as an immigrant in the Utah landscape. I hope to add to the discussion of sharing challenges concerning coming to terms with intersectional cultural identities as an immigrant with a yearning for a lost connection to heritage in a western-centric country. My artwork integrates multi-media portraiture framed by naturalistic environments that create a story with the South American themes of magic realism in the forms of pre-Raphaelite historical paintings with indigenous utilitarian textiles and patterns.

The Artist-in-Residence program at the Leonardo features a new Latino/Hispanic artist each month. In collaboration with Artes de Mexico en Utah, this exciting program brings art back to the community and encourages The Leonardo visitors to interact with local artists, ask questions, and observe several finished art pieces on display. The goal of this program is to encourage diverse artistic interpretation and to facilitate cross-cultural community-revitalization with a special focus on sharing the history, ideas, and lived experiences of our Latinx population with a wider audience.

El programa de Artistas en Residencia en el Leonardo presenta un nuevo artista latino/hispano cada mes. Esta iniciativa en colaboración con la organización Artes de México en Utah, hace del arte, una participación colectiva e invita a los visitantes del museo The Leonardo a interactuar con artistas locales, conocer su obra en marcha y exposición.  El objetivo de este programa es crear un espacio de interpretación artística que represente y reconozca la diversidad multicultural latinoamericana con el fin de compartir ideas y experiencias  a través del arte, que permitan ampliar el conocimiento cultural.