I want to thank support creativity so much. There is a lot that inspires me and to do my artwork but one of the main components is just feeling supported and support creativity is definitely doing that for me. I hope I can use this award to create better artwork and continue working hard.

Paloma Martinez

2020 Recipient

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Paloma Martinez

Undergraduate Scholarship 2020
Cornell University​
Master of Fine Arts
  • Paloma Martinez IG

As a person who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on a daily basis, I use this experience to portray both the artificiality and unity found in this disruption. I spent most of my life crossing from Ciudad Juárez to El Paso, Texas every day to go to school. This distinctive educational routine, and the act of crossing the border, shaped a massive portion of my identity.

In my work, I reference Gloria Anzaldua’s literary masterpiece: “Borderlands: La Frontera: The New Mestiza”. In this book, she describes the U.S.-Mexico border as "an open wound". I interpreted this definition by splitting a canvas in two, following the shape of the 1954 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. I then united these two pieces with a typical Mexican fabric used for Rebozos, and these ribbons were placed in pertinent borderland communities.

This depiction portrays my contradictory perception of the U.S.-Mexico border as a place of both unity and disruption. Although my home town, Ciudad Juárez, is physically separated from El Paso, I regard it as one community. People from El Paso and Ciudad Juárez are constantly crossing over from one city to another, living in a place of unity. However, there is an existing disruption between the communities, one that not everyone is as privileged to cross.

All of these negative and positive ideas were my inspiration to create this oil on canvas sculptural painting. It portrays, through aesthetic care, my love for the place where I am from, but it also challenges many of its problems.

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