Oscar Garay

Region: Pacific Coast

 Throughout my life, I have lived in the predominantly Latinx city of Los Angeles. However, growing up, I attended private schools with few students of color and even fewer Latinx members. Every morning, the school bus ride teleported me from familiar cityscapes to foreign suburbia. As a consequence, I was ostracized and misrepresented, because my peers’ perceptions of Mexicans were misguided by the media and their limited authentic experiences with people of Mexican descent. In order to cope with the pain of ignorant slander and racism, I turned to art as a tool of expression. Each one of my works is attached to a memory of the commentary I received about my culture: “Is your dad a cholo?” or “You must come from a farming family, huh?” Messages like these fueled my drive to educate my school community on the true experiences and realities of being a Mexican American. Therefore, my work is an examination and critique of the implicit biases and stereotypes surrounding Mexicans in Los Angeles and in America at large.