Enrique Chagoya makes paintings and prints about the changing nature of culture. “My artwork is a conceptual fusion of opposite cultural realities that I have experienced in my lifetime. I integrate diverse elements: from pre-Columbian mythology, western religious iconography and American popular culture.”
Chagoya’s newest print, The Ghosts of Borderlandia, depicts recognizable artists in front of a border wall. Philip Guston, Van Gogh, Elizabeth Taylor and Picasso are buried to their eyebrows while stereotypical characters, eyes also hidden, peer over the wall.
The artist describes this new print:
“The imagery in this codex refers to the borders that people build between themselves. In The Ghosts of Borderlandia, people’s eyes are hidden behind a wall or underground to symbolize the lack of sight that borders create. The invisible borders create stereotypes that dehumanize the “other” and creates an “us vs. them” context. There are physical and invisible borders. They may be between social classes, genders, religions, ethnicities and cultures. Viewers may discover some recognizable artists and stereotypical characters in front and behind the wall.”
In 2000, Chagoya became a citizen of the United States. He is currently Associate Professor of Art at Stanford University where he received the Dean’s Award in the Humanities in 1998. In 2013, ARTIUM, Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art presented the exhibition Cannibal Palimpsest, Chagoya’s first exhibition in a European museum.