Lorena Cruz Santiago

Region: Midwest

Through an interdisciplinary art practice, I make work informed by experiences of migration, assimilation, and indigeneity. My recent works reflect my effort to learn about my parents’ Mixtec culture, most recently through their gardening practices. During calls with my parents where they walk me through their garden explaining their process and progress, I utilize FaceTime as a medium to take pictures which I then print using gum bichromate. These prints are exposed to sunlight, and I imagine them harnessing the power of the sun as plants do during photosynthesis.

Part of this work is my research into Indigenous visual sovereignty. During my parents’ early lives in a rural indigenous town, San Juan Mixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, access to photography was scarce. As a result, my parents and their families lack a photographic record of their early life. This new work allows them to become image-makers instead of the subjects of my work as they had been previously. My parents become collaborators—helping compose my source images, and creating a new family archive.