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Found via the online art journal, Anarty: http://anartyblog.wordpress.com

Cecilia Paredes is a Peruvian artist who paints herself (i.e. her own skin) into the lush flora of various wallpapers behind her. Paredes describes it as an extension of her search for identity after a life of “displacement and migration.”

In many of her works, her hair and/or her eyes are often the only element present that betrays her presence: the wallpaper’s harmony is broken by the slight mismatch of lines and white pop of Paredes’ stare. Despite how it may appear at first glance, Paredes is, in fact, a part of the visual landscape, the representation of herself life-size within the 4’x 4′ frame.

Paredes exemplifies the issues of identity often seen within modern Latin American art: from Pepón Osorio, who struggles to evaluate his role within a Puerto Rican community as a black man and again as a Puerto Rican within the states, and Michael Manjarris, whose work reflects his mixed upbringing as both a Mexican and American citizen (even his name drops the Spanish pronunciation: man-harris becomes man-gerris), to larger concepts of identification as a nation that are common in the work of artists such as Fernando Botero and Diego Rivera. Anarty also likens her work to that of Frida Kahlo in visual style.

(But I still wonder if there is a link between her last name (Paredes is wall in Spanish) and chosen subject matter… no mention in any websites as of yet.)

Lucie wrote this blog post and put it on her tumblr a day ago. I feel like much of it really hit the nail on the head about Paris and our existence within the city, socially and emotionally:

“I never thought I would come back to Paris. It is the city of cigarettes, piss, thieves, rude natives, and the foreign language I thought would have been a waste of a language class. Once I arrived, I noticed that it felt different than my 4 day tourist excursion the first time through, and the city beat and schedule quickly became more natural than I could have ever imagined. There was a high level or trust, or maybe apathy, towards how other people perceived me and my ability to make decisions as an adult. The first five weeks were filled with sleepless nights, more work than I anticipated, nightmares, cultural isolation, and the strange sensation of looking at my surroundings and realizing that nobody really knew who I was. I began to wonder why I was obsessed with someone knowing my thoughts and passions and habits. Perhaps without that removed gaze, my decisions and reactions could never be validated. My existence meant nothing without another mind recognizing me. That might be juvenile, but it doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t pretend to not care about the people I surround myself with, I willingly allow myself to be vulnerable and honest and deeply affected. I’ve met so many people here who have prevailed in earning my trust or respect, and into their good nature I have surrendered my preconceptions about life and myself.

For my future roommate, who skyped me frequently, let me into her heart and mind and helped me to see what it is I love so much about my faith and conscientious people

For Alicia and Beca, who both helped me to let go and enjoy what’s in front of me and what’s ahead

For Sam, who has unconsciously challenged me on my promise to love those who reject me and my bearings

For Mark, who has made me put words to thoughts, and by doing so made those thoughts real

And for the Egyptian crêpe maker who kept me company and made me a full meal asking for nothing in return when I was ready to breakdown

Thank you all. Through my anxiety, dejection, isolation, and confusion, I have found myself caught between peace and bliss. And I surprisingly have to say, I’m going to miss this place.  The nostalgic sentiments are already setting in. To my fellow astrophysicists in training, ‘We’ll always have Paris.'”