Cuban-born multidisciplinary artist Juana Valdes works in photography, installation, and sculpture to deconstruct migration and trade patterns that inevitably bring displacement, memory, and personal narratives within the diaspora to light. Her Afro-Cuban heritage informs a lot of her work in addition to actual trade goods through which she traces many of these historical routes. China bone, china rags, printed men’s handkerchiefs, and cigars are just a few of the domestic goods she revisits to critically reevaluate how these objects encapsulate value as a reflection of the aesthetic and economic decisions made at the time. While these trade patterns largely inform and…


make up the Cuban diaspora, Valdes still deftly incorporates notions of her own female identity and challenges how the “other” is viewed through these everyday objects.


Valdes was born in Cabañas, Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, and currently work as Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She completed her BFA in sculpture at the Parsons School of Design and her MFA at SVA, in addition to attending the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has had several solo exhibitions at the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers, Guttenberg Arts, SENSEI Gallery, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, Paul Sharpe Contemporary Art, the Bronx River Art Center, and more. She has also had countless group exhibitions at El Museo @ SVA, 18th International Cultural Exchange to Guadeloupe L’Artocarpe Contemporary Space, Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, Art in General, El Museo del Barrio, WhiteBox Gallery, P.S.1 Contemporary Art, among other international exhibitions. Valdes has also participated in numerous residencies including Experimental Intermedia Huis in Belgium, the European Ceramic Work Center, Smack Mellon Studio Residency Program, Lower East Side Print Shop, Atlantic Center for the Arts, among many others.

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