Juana Valdes

Miami, Florida & New York, New York
Installation, Sculpture

Rest Ashore, a new large-scale multichannel video installation by Afro-Latinx multi-disciplinary artist Juana Valdes. It reexamines the Cuban migration experience over the past sixty years and its relation to the current global refugee crisis. The installation examines similarities in how the refugee crisis has been documented and disseminated in mass media throughout the decades while creating a new visual vernacular sharing the experience of those who migrate by sea. Using the Cuban-American rafters’ “Balseros” experience as a starting point and reflecting upon past and current migration by sea, Rest Ashore addresses the current refugee crisis worldwide, remembering and recognizing those refugees who died at sea in their journeys. The project pushes past the conventional beliefs of what it means to be a refugee and questions how these experiences are chronicled in the media and recorded in our memories.

Juana Valdes’s work was part of the Perez Art Museum Miami, in “Polyphonic: Celebrating PAMM’s Fund for African American Art.” Her recent solo exhibitions included Rest Ashore on view at Locust Projects and Terrestrial Bodies, at the Cuban Legacy Gallery, MDC Special Collections in Miami in 2020. Her work was in the traveling exhibition “Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago,” part of Pacific Standard Time: LALA for the Museum of Latin American Art in California. Recent awards include Anonymous Was A Woman Grant (2020), Joan Mitchell Foundation grant (2018), The Ellies Creator Award (2018); the National Association of Latinos Arts and Culture Visual Artists Grant (2017); New York Foundation for the Arts, Sculpture (2011).