I began working on the Ferguson drawing series after I read Jeff Chang’s book Who We Be: The Colorization of America. I had previously started creating works using the Crayola Multicultural Crayons set of eight skin-tone colors in drawings and castings but the imagery and material came together in the summer of 2015. The Black Lives Matter movement brought to our attention the racial inequities and violence perpetrated against African Americans and people of color in our country. Yet, the racial divide continues and the need for reflection, dialogue, and action are as urgent as ever.
In my work, I use familiar and commonplace objects and their meaning to investigate issues of culture, labor and domesticity. I employ a range of mediums including drawing, printmaking, and sculpture and I explore specific personal relationships as subject matter for their richness in psychological complexity. Sometimes I begin with an image – a drawing or print that depicts a loved one, an event or a particular place. At other times it is the material that propels the process and forms the foundation for new work – scraps of my daughter’s homework assignments from first grade or heaps of leather scraps from my father’s shoe repair shop. The characteristics and physical presence of materials such as these, the materiality of objects, inspires me to analyze how things are made, consider who makes them and examine the physical or social conditions that are involved. In the process, I focus on the inequities of race, gender and class to create work that represents specific cultural and gender experiences as a way to acknowledge their value and power.
For more information about Pilar Agüero-Esparza, please visit her website.