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Nomen Ambiguum
Michelle Peraza

Opening reception
Saturday 18 May 2024 2pm-4pm
On view until Saturday 27 July 2024
Show Room Gallery | Niagara Artists Centre

Gold’s radiance is alluring. The veins of mountainous areas continue to drain and the “green gold” that enticed colonial botanists has rolled into the production of monoculture farming for our present-day appetite. Through site-specific installations, amate/amatl (Mesoamerican tree bark paper) drawings, and paintings, the work in this exhibition speaks back to monumentality, architectural structures as empire coding, relentless extraction, transculturation and burned histories by way of aesthetic strategies that collapse the past, present, and future. This work is framed with the concept of the brown commons or what the late Cuban-American scholar, José Esteban Muñoz, would define as people, flora, objects and more that “suffer and strive together,” yet have an “ability to flourish under duress and pressure.” (José Esteban Muñoz, 2). This brownness is a stain to the whiteness of the walls. And brownness persists and resists.

Michelle Peraza acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council for part of the work in the exhibition.

Reference List
Muñoz, José Esteban, Joshua Chambers-Letson, and Tavia Nyong’o. The Sense of Brown. Durham: Duke University Press, 2020.

Michelle Peraza
(b.1991) is a visual artist of Cuban and Costa Rican descent. She holds a BA from Western University, a BFA from OCAD University and an MFA from York University. She has been an artist-in-residence at Mauser EcoHouse (Puntarenas, Costa Rica) and Vermont Studio Centre (Johnson, Vermont) with upcoming residencies at Arquetopia (Puebla, Mexico), El Sur (Mexico City, Mexico) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, Canada) as the AGO X RBC Artist-in-Residence. Peraza has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including support from Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Arts Council, Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation and Nancy Petry Award administered by the Joe Plaskett Foundation. Peraza’s studio is in Toronto/Tkaronto.

Artist Statement
Michelle Peraza is a second-generation Latin American Canadian visual artist who centralizes LatinX identity within the discourse of coloniality. She creates large-scale figure paintings in oil of individuals close to her, people often dismissed from the art historical canon. Through figuration and a research-driven practice, she explores themes of postcolonialism, transculturation, feminism, ambiguity, extraction and relocation, the dissemination of images, and representation. In tandem with painting, Peraza explores a material-based practice working with 23k gold leaf, genuine silver leaf and amate/amatl (Mesoamerican tree bark) paper as an-other method of deconstructing the colonial narrative of power. She uses drawing and site-specific installation to serve as methods of exploring world making aesthetic strategies and to address the exhaustion of natural resources in the Global South.