Juana Estrada Hernández channels her experience growing up as an immigrant in the United States into drawing and print media that address political and social issues pertaining to communities of Latinx migrants. Mexican culture and folklore, pop culture, and her family’s migration stories inspire her artistic output. Her solo exhibition entitled Las semillas, el sol, y los que sacaron a delante / The seeds, the sun, and those that brought me forward is on display in the Roswell Museum’s Donald B. Anderson Gallery from September 23 to December 17, 2023.
The human-fabricated boundary between Mexico and the United States nevertheless has very real impacts on people and communities. Estrada Hernández’s displayed works are a combination of memories, treasured cultural traditions, and a celebration of her family’s resilience. The decision to leave everything you know behind in pursuit of a glimmer of hope for a better life for yourself and your children is one of the most difficult and risky endeavors one can undertake. At the crux of this migration is the steadfast belief in defining what, not where, a home is by following a strong sense of internal navigation. Estrada Hernandez’s newest works celebrate this dedication of both pride in and preservation of one’s culture as well as a refusal of assimilation and erasure. “I highlight the importance of holding on to one’s own culture as a method of resistance, pride, and celebration,” the artist has said.
As someone in the precarious situation of tentative legal status in the ever-intensifying tempest of political fluctuations around US immigration policy, the artist knows first-hand what it is like to have what is political dictate many elements of what is personal. Estrada Hernández is a recipient of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a US immigration policy providing administrative relief from deportation and work permits for some immigrants who arrived as minors without legal resident status. Used simultaneously as a target and bargaining chip by rival political parties, DACA recipients have no sense of stability as a pathway to citizenship is not guaranteed and their tentative status could be revoked at any moment, resulting in being deported to countries they barely remember. “As a Daca-mented artist,” Estrada Hernández says, “I accept the responsibility to use my artwork and voice to advocate for and expose my audience to social-political issues that impact my community.”
Juana Estrada Hernández was born in Luis Moya, Zacatecas, Mexico. She received her BFA in Printmaking from Fort Hays State University in Kansas in 2018 and her MFA from the University of New Mexico in 2021. After teaching printmaking at Fort Hays State University for the past two years, Estrada Hernández will be moving to the East Coast to teach at the Rhode Island School of Design as Assistant Professor of Printmaking in the 2023-2024 academic year.
She has exhibited her work across the United States and internationally at venues including 516 ARTS in New Mexico, Ardent Gallery in the United Kingdom, Ateliers Engramme Art Center in Canada, the Bancroft Street Market in Nebraska, the Cleveland Art Institute in Ohio, El Arsenal de la Marina in Puerto Rico, the El Paso Museum of Art in Texas, Hecho a Mano Gallery in New Mexico, Janet Turner Print Museum in California, the Los Angeles Printmakers Society in California, the National Hispanic Cultural Center in New Mexico, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Illinois, Oklahoma City University, the Print Center of New York, the Rocky Mountain Printmaking Alliance in Utah, the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts in Texas, the Santa Fe Art Institute in New Mexico, Sarah A. Coyne Gallery in New York, SG Gallery of Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Italy, Tamarind Institute in New Mexico, Through This Lens Gallery in North Carolina, the University of Hawaii, the University of Montana, the University of New Mexico Art Museum, and Utah State University, among others.
Estrada Hernández’s accolades include being the recipient of a Fulcrum Fund Grant from 516 ARTS in New Mexico; residencies at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, Chicago Printmakers Collaborative in Illinois, Megalo Print Studios in Australia, and Zygote Press in Ohio; and participation in El Primer Encuentro Binacional de Mujeres Artistas Visuales Programa (The First Binational Meeting of Women Visual Artists Program) co-organized by the Museum of Latin American Art and the Ministry of Culture of Baja California, Mexico. Her work is in numerous collections, including the Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art in Georgia, the National Library & Archives of Quebec in Canada, the Samek Art Museum in Pennsylvania, the University of North Texas, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, among others.
Her show Las semillas, el sol, y los que sacaron a delante / The seed, the sun, and those that brought me forward at the Roswell Museum is the artist’s first solo exhibition at a museum since receiving her MFA. There will be a few opportunities for visitors to engage with the artist about the concepts and materials with which she works over the course of the exhibition’s opening weekend, September 22-24, 2023, starting with an artist talk at 5:30 pm on Friday September 22 followed by an opening reception in the gallery.