Artist Statement: Sophia Francesco ’20
The Colors of Us
“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” – Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
The ever-changing nature of identity pushes an individual to explore the multifaceted foundation in which they reside, therefore prompting one to question who they are. My exhibition strives to capture the qualities, beliefs, and characteristics that formulate one’s identity and the capricious journey that an individual must take in order to uncover these aspects.
I grew up believing I could not meet the expectations of the world around me and it was my duty to fulfill such standards. Yet, it was through an introspective exploration that I was able to embrace the unconventional fragments that shaped who I am and put the pieces of me back together. Different moments from my personal journey are captured within each piece, expressing my own reflection and growth as an individual, however, it is through this personal portrayal that I am able to express the significant fragments of identity that frame everyone.
As humans, our existence is constantly questioned through the form of family, culture, ethnicity, sexuality, and societal constructs, yet we are still faced with looking toward ourselves, begging the question “who am I?”
Through my creation of this exhibition, I found myself exploring the fragments of my identity even further than before, allowing each color to mix together, prompting me to begin with the most vibrant hues to the darkest. I formatted my exhibition to emulate a gallery wall within a household, a common area in which valued memories are displayed. The layout mimics the flow of a timeline, beginning with “Vulnerability” and closing with “A Glorious Warrior” in which the viewer progresses from the past to the present.
The exhibition evolves through color and time, with pieces such as “Vulnerability”, “Una Muerte Cultural”, and “Oaxaca” capturing the beginning phases of my life through vibrant, traditional, Mexican hues and warm tones. Other pieces such as “Contemplation”, “Bloom”, “The Fruits of Our Labor”, and “A Glorious Warrior” integrate these vibrant hues while gradually introducing darker tones as the story creeps closer to the present, therefore moving away from the established color scheme. While “Vulnerability” depicts a familial relationship between father and daughter, works such as “Contemplation” shift from pre-established foundational identity fragments and step into a realm of introspection as seen in the forming of two versions of myself dancing with each other, flourishing together.
This is not to take away from the validity of certain components of identity, rather gage the preconceived notions of how one might be portrayed. Additionally, I pondered the role of the viewer and the relationship formed between them and the exhibition, with “Divided Mirror” as a physical means of expanding on this connection. As my exhibition captures my personal journey, it is essential that the viewer is able to expand on the concepts presented, thus prompting me to craft a mirror that allows them to see themselves within the exhibition, amongst the other pieces, and to urge the notion of self-reflection.
The linear format leads viewers through the timeline generated by the artwork so it can be taken in piece by piece, examining each significant moment of time that shifted my identity. I wanted this layout to act as a natural form of progression, resembling the very nature of the human condition with high and low points.
Indeed, we are not born all at once, rather our seeds are planted, waiting to be enriched by the human condition and fostered through introspection. Although the world pushes us to bound ourselves to certain foundational elements, it is through our own exploration that we are able to recognize how we perceive ourselves and distinguish the fragments that form the person we face. I never lose sight of the fact that I am indeed a work in progress, always eager to develop another facet of myself and perhaps reshape the complexion of the world around me.