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 is “Everyone is an Alienígeno”.
I heard the word Alien for the first time in American films and television programs about extraterrestrials. I learned another meaning of Alien when I moved to the US in the late 70s and saw it on my Legal Alien card, also known as a Green Card. The print’s title in Spanglish Alienígeno reflects my bi-cultural experience.
I am a US citizen and I no longer hold a Legal Alien card, but it is still a reminder of the political and xenophobic borders in many places of the world. Humanity shares the same genome and we are all the same species with great ethnic and cultural diversity. For me such variety enriches our lives in many ways.
In this print I use my sense of humor to eliminate stereotypes and help to see others as human beings with beautiful differences. The US and other countries in the world have benefited from diversity.
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.