We invite you to join 2023 University of Southern Maine Artist-in-Residence Veronica A. Perez in a braiding circle. During this workshop, you can braid artificial hair and share stories that braiding brings up. These stories will be recorded and embedded into sculptures built out of the braids, which are, in turn, part of the artwork in Veronica’s May exhibition in the Art Gallery. The artist will guide you through this free drop-in activity. The conversation will focus on community, identity, and belonging — all of which are essential components of Perez’s artistic practice.
Of their art, Perez says:
“My work lies at the intersection of identity, vulnerability, protection & power, using materials such as hair, sugar, and chain link fencing to reveal hidden & forgotten parts of one’s identity. They reflect the experience of the artist and an experience of a diaspora of Latinx folx. My practice is further informed by research on the effects of colonialism & gentrification within individuals relating to identity politics. This research-based practice about the psychological impact of white supremacy is related to my personal experiences as a biracial person. My father, a Puerto Rican man, would openly wish for a blonde-haired, blue-eyed child. I assumed he wanted a kid that looked like my mom. I now realize years after his death, he hoped for his children to have an easier time navigating this world. For this reason, visual art has served as a catalyst for understanding the world. Art helps me understand socio-political issues that affect me and the communities that surround me. In turn, this aids me in working together with said communities toward mutual aid, representation, and interdependence.”
This program is made possible with generous support from The Warren Foundation, the University of Southern Maine Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Council, the University’s Center for Collaboration and Development, and the University’s Women & Gender Studies Department. Funded by the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission.