Melanie Vasquez is an art major at Longwood with a concentration in photography. Her work asks the question, "What does it mean to be an American?"
"Through this work I am concentrating on what is an American and the possibilities of family values. What does it mean to be an American? Does it depend on race? Is everyone really equal? Involving my heritage and personal life I am creating a story. A story about what it is like to be hispanic and the struggles that my family has experienced. Stories are told through the images and I wanted the audience to wonder. Wonder about what it was like back in the late 90s to today as a hispanic. How it might actually be similar to how your family has grown up.
This work is intimate to show how this is personal to me and how the viewer can have a close connection with the artwork. I want the viewers to be able to relate to my work in some way or another. Even if they are not hispanic, maybe they can understand the struggles of what my family has gone through, with their own.
I research family values to understand what normal white Americans vs non-white American believe to be family values.
I search through old photos and letters to piece together a timeline. This artwork is going to be put into a book format with a couple images printed out on the wall that stand out to me. I want the book to be intimate but I also want to display the work in a way that is easy for multiple people to see. This is how I want to make the work accessible. Though I also want the work to be elegant even if the story is harsh."
Point of Departure will be on view until May 31.
Image: Melanie Vasquez, Boots, 2020