Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Amanda Ferris McKenzie Essay for Untitled Happy American Child

Here is Amanda Ferris McKenzies essay. She is one person who knows me very well so I found it intriguing to see how she would speak of my work coming from such position. Along with Ms. Hodes these two ladies did a wonderful job at these essays and I am for ever honored!

Emanuel Aguilar gives an eclectic view of the American Dream with his most recent collection of work. An exploration of images and meaning in different styles, mediums and ideals. Repetition is a main focus in Aguilar's works, similar to Andy Warhol, with some images fading while other burst with force giving the audience an opportunity to explore the differences within each piece. Taking these images into account the viewer is able to compare and contrast them while interpreting the meanings and adding their own cultural references to the work. Reflective surfaces are critical to the understanding and examination of several works, where the viewer can become a part of the work and expand his/her about the American Dream and it's importance.

Cultural identity is the theme of Aguilar's work. His exploration of his Latin American roots mix with the urban Chicago setting where he was raised that brings his identity to a crossroads. What does being American truly mean to the older generations? Does the idea of the "American Dream" mentality still exist among younger generations? These are questions that are consistently raised by Aguilar's work and although he does not give the viewer any answers, he reinforces the concept. The United States has very few traditions of it's own and because of this we as a nation tend to piggy back on other cultures and their traditions. trying to connect with our ancestral cultures while at the same time applying them to modern life is creating a new cultural fusion that determines our American identity. Far from home our souls are searching for meaning in a land of commercial traditions and cultures, ridding on the backs of immigrants with thousands of years of traditions and self awareness.

Above is a picture of Ms. Amanda Ferris McKenzie.

Emanuel Aguilar

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