Elisa, M.N., 2011, Oil on panel, 10" x 10".
In the painting entitled "Elisa, M.N.," Tejano artist, Joe Peña masterfully creates a candid and vivid portrait of a young migrant worker. This virtuoso image is part of a series of migrant portraits, which the artist describes as follows:
"My work explores various issues of ethnic identity, including aspects of family and cultural traditions, relating to my Hispanic heritage. Further associations are investigated through mark-making, layering, and detail within the surface of the works as it relates to the images themselves.
Regarding this series of portraits, when I was in my late teens (through a summer job, where-in, I would work unloading tile for extra income); I was introduced to a number of illegal immigrants migrating to the States. Often I would work side-by-side with people, both men and women, who would speak of their efforts in making the grueling trek through the blistering South Texas region.
The individuals within these portraits are presented directly and with honesty, with no pretense about their purpose here other than to make a better living for themselves and their families."
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