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Yo Tengo Nombre

An exhibition by Ruth Leonela Buentello
Efroymson Emerging Artist in Residence
Sep 19 - Oct 31, 2019

This project is funded by a grant from the Efroymson Family Fund.

Illegal Entry
We Need Borders

This series of paintings was inspired by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy and the images of migrant families being separated and detained at the US-Mexico border that dominated media outlets across the nation since the summer of 2017. 

Focusing on images from the US media sources that exposed the violence of migrants’ dehumanization, vulnerability, fear, loss, and criminalization, the paintings document the embodiment of state-authorized brutality and erasures of personhood.

Artist's Statement

My work centers on my identity as a Xicana in the United States. I explore familial relationships and focus on issues of gender, gender identity, and patriarchy within the home. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants my narratives also explore responses to current issues of immigration.  My process involves creating composite references of family photos layered with drawings, patterns, symbols or actual objects from memory. I incorporate materials from the domestic sphere to my work uplifting my education received from my mother and father about craft and labor into my work.  My intent is to create space for the Xicanx narrative in the “canon” of art.

About the Artist

Ruth Leonela Buentello is an interdisciplinary artist from San Antonio, TX. She is known to create narratives based on her Xicana identity. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and is a recipient of the 2017 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors grant. She is currently a full tuition scholar at Maine College of Art where she will receive her MFA in 2021.


Artist Conversation & Reception
With Ruth Leonela Buentello and curator Amanda Krugliak
Sep 19, 5:30-7pm

LOOK 101: Seeing Art in an Instagram World
The Art of Ruth Leonela Buentello with curator Amanda Krugliak
Sep 23, 1pm

All events are free and open to the public and held at the Institute for the Humanities, 202 S. Thayer.