Los Angeles-based artist Rafa Esparza, whose rigorous practice often involves performance and sculpture as a way to explore identity, migration and colonization, will participate in an artist talk at Art + Practice. He will consider artist Senga Nengudi’s practice as a theme for further describing and understanding the choice of materials that he often incorporates in his works of art. Furthermore, Esparza will discuss his use of Brown matter, examining his performance works and recent paintings.
rafa esparza is a multidisciplinary artist who was born, raised, and is currently living in Los Angeles. Woven into esparza’s bodies of work are his interests in history, personal narratives, and kinship. He is inspired by his own relationship to colonization and the disrupted genealogies that come forth as a result. Using live performance as his main form of inquiry, esparza employs site-specificity, materiality, memory, and (non)documentation as primary tools to interrogate and critique ideologies, power structures, and binaries that problematize the “survival” process of historicized narratives and the environments wherein people are left to navigate and socialize. esparza’s recent projects have evolved through experimental collaborative projects grounded in laboring with land vis a vis adobe brick making, labor inherited by his father Ramon Esparza, where the artist diverts institutional resources to invited Brown and Queer cultural producers to collectively manifest large scale projects, and in the process brings people to gather to build networks of support and validation outside of traditional art spaces. Esparza is committed and invested in working in the local geographies that are the Southwest including Mexico and Latin-America. He has performed in a variety of spaces, public and private, throughout Los Angeles including Elysian Park, The Los Angeles River, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Highways Performance Space, REDCAT, Human Resources, Vincent Price Museum, LACE, has shown around the U.S. in places that include The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Ballroom Marfa, and internationally at Oficina de Procesos, Mexicali, and El Museo del Chopo in CDMX. esparza was part of the 2018 spring cohort at the renowned Artpace Artist in Residence program in San Antonio, Texas, and recently led a guerrilla processional performance with over 25 artists through the historic fashion thoroughfare market The Santee Alley as part of his project de la Calle at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.