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Western Art Education


Western art education Drawing

Emmanuel Cortes


Drawing, Pencil on Paper

Size: 16.5 W x 11.7 H x 0.1 D in

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About The Artwork

The group of work (see MASKS for the complete series) Emmanuel Cortés is presenting focuses on the portrait and what it has signified to humans historically and currently. It is the power of 500-year-old colonial iconography and the instant marvel of a selfie manifesting itself in the artwork of a Mexican-American immigrant working in Brussels. Through these portraits, the artist explores the multiple aspects of his culture. A “culture” here is not a singular corpus that one belongs to or comes from, but a network of connections between a person and their cultural influences. The complex series of self-portraits allows you to enter the artist's world. The child of immigrants, an immigrant himself, a warrior, such as his ancestors fighting the first Spanish armadas, a simple man giving you the key to the features of his life that caused him pain in the western white patriarchal world we live in. Granting you access to his culture through the experience of a Mexican who was not Mexican enough for his heritage and not American enough for his peers. The piece is stitched onto an MDF board, mounted on a plywood frame. The frame was used during an exhibition where the drawings were hung from the ceiling on thick cords. The cords were held by clamps that fit in the gaps visible on the side of each frame. Dimensions of framed piece: 60.5 x 40.5 cm

Details & Dimensions

Drawing:Pencil on Paper

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:16.5 W x 11.7 H x 0.1 D in

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Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.

I was born in Mexico City in 1988 and raised as a child immigrant in the south side of Chicago. Growing up in the south side of Chicago is hard, especially for a little gay Mexican kid. I questioned my position in society as the product of a lower-class household, and grew skeptical of the white institutionalized art world. Working up to my “American Dream,” I received a B.A. in Studio Art from Northeastern Illinois University and a Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago. During my studies, I exhibited my work at various galleries around town. Soon after my studies, I moved to Belgium to join my husband and continue my career in Brussels. I make portraits, functional sculptural objects and clothing as a self taught tailor. My work reflects personal social anxiety within an urban environment and reality’s imperfect, chaotic nature. They are participatory and performative, about personal and collective identity, actively engaging the viewer with a mix of sexuality, gender, colonization, and Mexican folklore. The portraits question not only the spectacle of perfection as performed by individuals but the norms I inherited as a part of my social conditioning. Hiding, masking, and flaunting blend together into an experience of self-display and self-affirmation, transforming shame and otherness into security and pride. My work explores the decolonization of my practice, ideals, and presentation within the western world. Through my most current work, I explore the decolonization of my practice, ideals, and presentation. Since moving to Brussels and making Belgium my home, I have encountered a culture shock that deepened wounds I acquired as an immigrant in the United States. I was raised in an environment that was inherently racist, homophobic, and paranoid. As an immigrant child, I was held to a higher standard of conduct than my peers because the consequence of misbehavior could be my removal from the country. I am creating pieces that counter these deeply rooted memories.

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