Helios & Xico Student Juried Exhibition 2024: Rites of Passage

The inaugural exhibition Rites of Passage will be on exhibit at the Helios Education Campus from April 18 through July 18, 2024.

Best in Show

Loss of Identity - Esme McHarg

Loss of Identity

Esme McHarg
College Sophomore
Bio: Hi my name is Esme McHarg, I'm a Mexican-American artist who enjoys trying out a lot of different mediums of art but acrylic paints have so far been my favorite. Art has always been something I've loved doing, its helped me express myself when words couldn't. I hope I can use my art to help others find comfort and a sense of understanding and belonging with others or within themselves. I'm currently on the path to getting a bachelor's in animation to help me pursue that dream of helping people find a place of comfort in art.

Artist Statement: This is an acrylic painting done on canvas. For the theme of Rite of Passage, I choose to interpret it in a really personal way. My piece deals with my struggle to fit into my predominantly white and not-as-full-of-body hair peers. My body hair has always been something I've struggled with, because of it I've covered whatever portions of my skin were visible to the point of wearing hoodies during the summer. I've felt isolated and out of place with my feminine-presenting peers in the locker rooms while we had to get changed for PE. Because of my intense insecurities and comments made by my classmates about my body hair, I started shaving what my mother would allow me to shave, my legs and face. This was the Rite of Passage I felt I had to go through to finally fit in with my peers, and it worked, the next day in PE I was celebrated and congratulated for finally shaving and getting rid of my abundant amount of leg hair. At the moment it felt good to be part of the girls around me but later when I got home I felt like I had lost something and I did, I lost a part of me that made me me, that connected me with my past Mexican relatives that also shared the same abundance of body hair that I did. I had regretted shaving my hair, to this day I still kind of do but I don't blame little me for wanting to fit in. I've grown to be more accepting of my body hair, I'm learning to love it. I'm slowly trying to wear more clothes that can show off my body hair. Seeing other Hispanic women having body hair and being proud to show it off has honestly been such a help and I also want to help younger people like me who also had to go through the struggle of accepting their body hair. It's normal and it's ours, it makes us beautiful and unique, it connects us with our family and our culture. The Calupoh, Mexican wolf-dog, represents me disconnecting from my culture, family, and self by the loss of hair. The arm on the top represents older me accepting my body hair. The arm on the bottom represents younger me and how my identity was slipping through my fingers.
Rebecca Thomas - Two Perspectives of Life

Two Perspectives of Life

Rebecca Thomas
High School Senior
Bio: I am a Native American artist who has been creating work for as long as I can remember. In the past I would doodle for fun in class, to focus, and now I create it to show moments in my life. I am highly influenced by both my dad and grandpa who are both artists in their own right. I used to watch them make designs in pencil and charcoal. I think their work inspired me to become an artist. I work in a wide range of media, although my favorite is acrylic.

Artist Statement: My acrylic painting shows the relationship between two different stages in life, both having different points of view in the same moment in time. Using a monochromatic grayscale helped me illustrate the contrast between the two. This portrait showcases my great grandmother and my cousin, bringing to light that older generations try to keep cultural traditions in the tribe Diné alive, while simultaneously many younger generations start to lean away from those traditions. Both my great grandmother and cousin illustrate what it’s like to be indigenous in modern day.

Runners Up

Victoria Ruiz - Brown Pride

Brown Pride

Victoria Garcia Ruiz
High School Sophomore
Bio: My name is Victoria Ruiz, I’ve been creating artwork for 2 years. I like creating artwork that I feel passionate about and artwork that symbolizes me and mostly about my culture. I'm a Chicana artist from Arizona, who is very proud of her family and their history. I am especially thankful to my Pa because he is the one who taught me about being Chicana and having pride in our identities.

Artist Statement: My work showcases three periods in history that really made and led to Chicano culture, from the time of the Aztecs to Pachucos and finally to our modern time. I wanted to create a piece to show how we came. Starting with our origins and with continuing to our present time. I am still learning about my Chicana culture and the history of it. Everything I find out is powerful and shapes who I am. I love spreading the information about being Chicana and the struggle that Chicanos went through in my artwork. For example, in this piece I drew a large group of people in the foreground because I wanted to show that many people were positively affected by the brave choices that our Chicano leaders have made. I represented the leaders as a Pachuco, an Aztec warrior, and a contemporary Chicano. I did this intentionally to show the viewer that all three have brought us to our current powerful state of being. In the background, I blended the Mexican flag with the Chicano flag to show that there should be no question of how Mexican Chicanos actually are. Our roots are in Mexico, even though we are currently “Americans.” We have not forgotten our origins, as we are deeply rooted in our history and culture.
Rachelly Addakai - The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Rachelly Addakai
High School Sophomore
Bio: I am a sophomore at Camelback High School, and I love to make art to express how I feel, especially to represent my culture. I create paintings of how my culture has been explained to me, so my paintings are like whenever I talk to my people. It’s much more than just a representation of my culture, it is a conversation with my ancestors. I started to draw three years ago and have continued to make art since then.

Artist Statement: In my watercolor painting, “The Path of Life,” the viewer sees a young woman on her knees who is calling out to be guided by a Yei bi chei, which is a medicine man. He provides people with support and guidance. I placed the Yei bi chei behind the woman to show he is there to comfort her and help guide her through her difficulties. I chose a cool color scheme to express both her sadness and the Yei bi chei’s calming presence. The swirling symbols in the background represent the woman’s memories of sadness moving away from her, as the Yei bi chei guides her.
De Nina a Mujer - Sofia Villa

De Nina a Mujer

Sofia Villa
High School Sophomore
Bio: I am a fifteen-year-old artist born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I was born in the United States with Mexican roots. My biggest pride is in my culture and family, which is why it's a recurring theme in my artworks. I would consider myself a self-taught artist. I did not attend art classes when I first began painting. My art journey consisted of trial and error and trying new techniques in my pieces. From eighth grade up until now, I have been taking art classes to further practice and improve my art. Today, I feel that I have come a long way from where I started. With every art piece I make, I feel that I can see my progress start to show.

Artist Statement: A Quinceanera is a rite of passage that is celebrated when a girl turns fifteen in Mexican and Latin American culture. It is specifically when she is considered a young woman and no longer a child. Hence the reason for my title which translates to, "From girl to woman". This piece portrays a girl in a Quinceanera dress standing under a rose archway. In this piece I included details from my own quince like the color scheme and dress to create personal meaning. For my media I chose to use acrylic paint and decided to work with a bigger space. I chose to incorporate many shades of reds and whites for this piece, as well as colors like pink and orange to create unity. For the background of this piece I decided on a sunrise to symbolize a deeper meaning. I wanted to symbolize the transition into womanhood with the sunrise because it represents a new chapter in life.
Sofia Villa - Medalla

Medalla de Quince Años

Sofia Villa
High School Sophomore
Bio: I am a fifteen-year-old artist born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I was born in the United States with Mexican roots. I have immense pride for my culture and family, which is why it's a recurring theme in my artwork. I consider myself a self-taught artist. I did not attend art classes when I first began painting. My art journey consisted of trial and error and trying new techniques in my pieces. From eighth grade up until now, I have been taking art classes to further practice and improve my art. Today, I feel that I have come a long way from where I started. With every art piece I make, I feel that I can see my progress start to show.

Artist Statement: A Quinceañera is a rite of passage that is celebrated when a girl turns fifteen in Mexican and Latin American cultures. Quinceañeras celebrate the transition of a girl to a young woman. There are many different aspects and components that make up this tradition. One being the ceremony when a girl receives her ring, bracelet, crown, or necklace in this case. "Medalla" translates to medal or necklace which is an important part of a Quinceañera. Therefore, my art piece represents the tradition of receiving your necklace. The hands that are on either side of the Quinceañera hold a very special honor. The person you choose to gift and put on your necklace for you is usually someone you cherish deeply. For my Quinceañera, I chose my grandma to put on my necklace. This art piece holds personal meaning because the necklace is a symbol of purity, pure love, and protection. For this piece, I chose to emphasize the necklace and details on the Quinceañera dress. I used small dots of paint to emphasize the jewels and pearls on my dress. For the background, I used colored pencil and a burnishing technique to create an aura type of background. I used warm colors like pink, orange, and yellow to emphasize feelings of love and happiness.
The Crowning - Natalie Reyna

The Crowning

Natalie Reyna
High School Junior
Bio: Hello, I'm Natalie. I come from a family full of Aztecs and when I found out an art competition would be based on my heritage, I gladly accepted to join. I always grew up drawing but recently I’ve been focusing more on incorporating my ethnicity into my artwork. I have a few pieces that represent Aztec culture and it is highlighted in this particular piece. I enjoyed creating it because the subject matter reminded me of where my family and I come from. In terms of media, I enjoy working with a wide variety, which is also visible in this piece.

Artist Statement: For this piece, “The Crowning,” I wanted to create an artwork that represented a right of passage, and when I think of rite of passage , I think of a new leader, stepping into the light, becoming the leader of a new tribe. I wanted to convey the idea of passing on a torch, however, I chose to represent this with the passing of a crown. The figure is giving the crown to the next generation of new people and I find through this rite of passage. For this piece, I chose to make the background grayscale, while the people are in full color. I did this because I wanted them to pop out more than the background since they are the main subject of the piece. For the tattoo I added my dad’s tattoo since this piece reminds me of my family. I thought that adding his tattoo would be symbolic since he’s the reason I'm more in touch with my Aztec culture. I also kept the tattoo black and white to symbolize “the beginning”, moving forward to “coming in the light”.
Bittersweet Misfortune - Daisy Gallardo

Bittersweet Misfortune

Daisy Gallardo
High School Senior
Bio: Hello, my name is Daisy Gallardo. I'm a senior high school student at Camelback High School. I am an active member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, National Honors Society, and an advisory participant of the Xico & Helios Youth Juried Exhibition. I have a passion for art because I enjoy the process of drawing, seeing my skills develop over time, and having a meaningful way to express myself and others. I started practicing drawing because all my friends love drawing, and each has a unique art style that represents them. They encouraged me to draw, so I began practicing from late 2018 to today. I would describe my artistic style as using a variety of traditional mediums, colors, line types, value, and more to create scenarios where real or fictional characters interact with other concepts to create a sense of wonder and inspiration.

Artist Statement: The artwork was created using watercolor. My goal is for viewers to feel sympathy for the young adult in the painting, whose ice cream has accidentally fallen onto the carpet in her home. I painted her red to convey the associated emotions of anger and frustration. The use of primary colors in the curtain and wall is intended to draw the viewer's attention to the details of the ice cream. Creating the painting was initially challenging as I had limited experience with watercolor. However, I was able to gain a better understanding of its properties during the process. This painting relates to the theme of rites of passage, as it portrays the symbolism of an ice cream and the emotion of a young adult that demonstrates a child transitioning into a young adult. The ice cream represents the sweet innocence that the young lady experienced in childhood. However, as she matured, her innocence ended abruptly due to her growing mind, curiosity, and understanding of complex ideas. Her frustration and anger are her realization that she cannot reclaim her lost innocence. She lies beside the melting ice cream to properly mourn and find acceptance. The ice cream seeping into the carpet of her home represents how the innocence she once knew will continue to live on in her memory through the home she grew up in.
Settle Down - Marley Billy

Settle Down

Marley Billy
High School Senior
Bio: My name is Marley, I am a 17 year old native American artist in my final year of high school. Through the 17 years I’ve walked the Earth, art has always been there with me since day one. In those years, my family, especially my dad, was there to cheer me on and be there for me in my ups and downs in my art career. Until recently, I’ve been taking art classes to improve my work and be more serious about choosing a fitting career for myself.

Artist Statement: I am tying up loose ends, pretending to be an adult is hard and I am realizing that I am getting older. I am no longer going to be able to mess around and be goofy. This is what my title reflects. My medium of choice was color pencils to reflect my childhood, when my mom and I were both entering a new chapter of our lives. As a family we were experiencing something new and different. At that time, my mom was learning how to become a mother. I was learning how to exist as a child and be a unique person. Now as a teenager, I am now learning how to be an independent person, creating new things for myself on my journey.
Samantha Quiroz Salgado - Subsist


Samantha Quiroz-Salgado
High School Sophomore
Bio: My name is Samantha but I prefer to be called Sam. I was born in Scottsdale, Arizona and currently reside in Phoenix, Arizona. I work mostly with colored pencils and (oil) pastels. Whenever I'm not in art class, I tend to draw girls I see on social media, portraits of my family and friends, and characters from media I enjoy! Although I live in a very sunny and hot area, I love the rainy and cloudy weather! I look out my window or sit out in my backyard and try my best to replicate the weather on paper. I am in an advanced art class (Drawing & Painting 3-4) and I draw events that a teenager (specifically girls) goes through in life. Whenever I'm not holding a pencil or paintbrush, I play games on my computer or spend time with my Yorkshire-Terrier, Buu.

Artist Statement: This piece shows a girl laying down with miscellaneous items scattered on her bed. There are vapes, cigarettes, money, makeup, food, and pills. I decided to leave this paper with no color and go with a grayscale palette to convey an 'unfortunate' feeling. I experimented with Sakura Pigma ink pens and created this 'dramatic' piece. The inspiration for this work were my friends' lives and my own life. None of my friends were content with their life and neither was I. I found out my friends were involved with drugs and those sorts of things. I talked to them about it and they told me that it was a way to escape and feel 'alive', as they put it. I was at my breaking point and I took my friends’ words and formed it into my own form of 'advice', "Since all else is failing, resort to smoking and vaping and turn your life upside down so you can feel alive for once! Your friends seem happy doing this so it should make you happy too." I thought about it and came to the conclusion that I shouldn't let this one bad event turn my whole life around. Laying in bed all day and not contributing to anything or talking to anyone won't get anyone anywhere in life. My friends and I got over our 'demise' together and now we can reflect on the past and learn or laugh about it. Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before and the biggest things we worry about now, turn out to be so small and eventually forgotten in the future.
Returning Home - Jenny Sanders

Returning Home

Jenny Sanders
High School Senior
Bio: My name is Jenny Sanders. I am part of the Navajo Nation Tribe. My clans are Dzil t'áadi nishłį́, Deeshchii'nii bá shíshchíín, Tsé deeshgiizhnii dashicheí, ʼÁshįįhí dashinálí. This is my self-identity and self-image. I grew up on the Navajo reservation until the 8th grade when I moved to the valley for High School.

Artist Statement: The meaning of my surrealistic artwork “T'aadii k'ǫǫ hwiinii dłǫǫh” (through adversity we are still resilient) is the history of my people who have suffered from colonization. I chose to paint this piece because I want people to know more about our history, as it is not well known. The painting shows my people walking in the direction that is supposed to be east, following a giant Coyote wearing a mailman uniform. This represents the ceremony that took place four days before returning home. All of the medicine men performed a coyote ceremony, in which a coyote walked passed, toward the east - telling them to go home. Coyotes are known to be messengers in Navajo culture. That same day, the American government passed a law where they were able to return home. The top right shows Kit Carson the person who led the whole migration and genocide of our people. He is seen to be crying the blood of the ones who died on the journey. The top shows horses also leaving toward the east back home. Then, on the bottom left, it shows an old woman who has no facial features due to what she and her people endured. The painting takes place at Mt. Taylor, New Mexico - where the Diné makes it back home to what would then be “the reservation”. To know more about my people and this event, go to Google and search “The Navajo Long Walk”.
Evolving Indentity - Adeezhi Salas

Evolving Identity

Adeezhi Salas
High School Senior
Bio: My name is Adeezhi Salas and I am 18 years old. I am a Navajo, Senior, student at Central High School. I transferred to Central in the beginning of the year from a reservation school in rural California. I have attended 3 different high schools in the past 4 years, although I have always been involved in art class and making sure I keep practicing this skill. I've loved creative expression from a very young age and I will continue this practice for as long as possible.

Artist Statement: "Evolving Identity" shows the reflection of one's self. Self-discovery is something everyone goes through and we often wear many personas, faces, and styles. This piece reflects the act of embracing the many identities while acknowledging the unity that ties it all together. This makes us who we are. The complexity of identity shows our ability to grow. The different colors and faces are all tied, connected, and blended to show the unity of yourself.
Learning to Blossom - Nereida Taylor

Learning to Blossom

Nereida Taylor
High School Senior
Bio: My name is Nereida Taylor and I am 18 years old. Growing up in a predominantly white city, there were little to no other children that looked like me. As I grew up I saw a lack of people of color represented on television, on commercial products and in art. Throughout my art I try to capture people of color, to make them feel represented. When we learn to love ourselves, we begin to see the beauty in the world and nature.

Artist Statement: Learning to Blossom focuses on the transition of becoming a woman. This coming to age piece shows how we must embrace self-change and growth. As a woman of color, embracing one's ethnic roots allows for a unique sense of their personal identity.
Saguaro Sunset - Alessandra Valdez

Saguaro Sunset

Alessandra Valdez
High School Junior
Bio: My name is Alessandra Valdez--most people call me "Dez" for short. I am a seventeen-year-old junior at McClintock High School. I was born in Mesa, Arizona, where I have lived my whole life. I am an aspiring artist, as I have always had an extremely vivid imagination which I enjoy channeling into creative works. My belief is that art can be found in anything and everything; every little detail that makes up our world has originated from a creative idea. I also believe that anyone with the desire to create can be considered an artist. I was coloring within the lines of coloring books at one year old; I was an artist then, and my passion has only flourished, making me into the artist that I am now. I am interested in an array of different art styles; I experiment with various mediums and find pleasure in the learning process of each one. I want to create in whatever way, shape, and form is available to me.

Artist Statement: "Saguaro Sunset" is a watercolor painting inspired by the unique style of Elise Dodge's geometric mountains and highly saturated color pallets. When creating this piece, I mainly wanted to capture the essence of Arizona's beauty, specifically the desert, where I was born and raised. As I am becoming an adult, I have realized just how much of my identity is rooted in my home. I have developed a unique appreciation for AZ deserts. Arizona’s towering Saguaros, red and rocky mountains, and rich sunsets that cascade over the valley fill me with a sense of belonging. These are my roots. I have decided to stay in Arizona, and possibly even live out my whole life here. I never want to be too far from home.
Altered Perspectives

Altered Perspectives

Natalia Banks
High School Junior

Bio: My name is Natalia Banks. I am a 16-year-old girl who was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I have four siblings; two brothers and two sisters, and I am the second youngest of the five. My love for art started at a young age when I used to watch Bob Ross with my mother and recreate what I saw using crayons and markers. Since then, I have grown to love art that showcases nature and the environment. As I grew up, I started watching cartoons and anime, realizing the vast potential of the field of art. Art can take many forms and has no limits. When it comes to choosing a career for my life, I am sure that I will choose something within the world of art.

Artist Statement: “Altered Perspectives” represents a fantasy world within the harsh realities of life, an escape from this world to a place where fear, loneliness, and pain don’t exist. It portrays the beauty of uniqueness while redefining "normal". It can transition to fit different perspectives. My intention was to portray a sense of comfort and peace, where nothing goes wrong. A place where I could escape reality in my mind and explore interesting colors and shapes, without sadness. A place where there was no chaos, where I could control and recreate my core memories. When creating this piece, I was going through the most difficult transition of my life, losing my mother. I was incredibly angry and overwhelmingly sad because of my mother’s death. I hated the feeling of being alone and without guidance, it was my biggest fear in life, and it was now my reality. While others feared death, I feared life, because there is no restart or reverse, to bring her or, my father, or my sister back. Though this was something I could not control, I felt unworthy of life. My mom had a kind soul, she helped me find peace in art . She is the reason I am able to keep on living. For half of my life my mom was ill and without care, I felt unworthy of my health while I was able to move around freely. She was in consistent pain. She never complained and always showed up to help me and gave me comfort when I needed it. She made my day when I was sad. She made the struggles of life seem small while always keeping a smile on her face. I try to stay strong for my loved ones that have passed away and the ones that are still alive. They are the ones that help my life story have color and meaning. They are the reason I keep moving and working hard to achieve my goals in this lifetime. I will continue to push myself to move forward, to keep going, to be strong, to become – me.

Colorful Adventure - Aless Leon

Colorful Adventure

Alessa Leon
High School Freshman
Bio: My name is Alessa, I'm 15, and I draw and sketch things I see. I mostly like drawing Cars, Clothing ideas, And characters from shows. I also enjoy sports like hiking, volleyball, and running.

Artist Statement: My piece resembles my identity and sense of belonging. I feel that it also reflects my personality because I think that nothing beats going outside and getting fresh air; sketching outside, going for a run, or a walk. Nature is a defining element of my identity, it is where I am most inspired. I hope to surround myself in an environment like ''Colorful Adventure'' in my adult life. In ''Colorful Adventure'', I wanted to explore the art of organic shapes, and I liked the simplicity of it. I usually sketch items and then go in depth with the details and lighting, so this was fun to try out. I also explored alternative color choices; not limiting myself to realistic/traditional colors and just having fun with the colors. I hope that anyone who sees my art will feel inspired to draw without limitations, and know that creativity and beauty exist in many different forms.
Dormant - Coen WIlliams


Coen Williams
High School Junior
Bio: My name is Coen Williams. I have lived in Arizona my entire life, but I hope to travel the world when I grow up. The things I love most in life are music, drawing, and my dog Phil. My favorite things to do are playing bass for my friends, and drawing. Horror is one of my favorite genres when it comes to drawing. I usually use pen and ink because I find it gives my drawings an unstable feel to them, which I like a lot. Artists from the baroque, surreal, and gothic eras such as Salvador Dali and Zdzislaw Beksinski have greatly inspired me. My favorite music genres are Funk, Jazz, and Indie. Some musicians who inspire me are Flea and Jaco Pastorious. My parents have also been very supportive when it comes to my interests. My dad was the one to introduce me to the bass and music in general, and my mom has always inspired me to keep drawing.

Artist Statement: My piece "Dormant" was created from the perspective of a viewer looking at leafless trees in the desert. Because the trees have no leaves, the viewer may assume that they are dead, but they are actually just dormant. Trees, like humans, must go through dormant cycles to grow. My piece "Dormant", symbolizes important cycles that people must experience in order for them to grow as humans.
First Born - Xianna Montoya

First Born

Xianna Montoya
College Senior
Bio: Xianna Montoya’s art explores family dynamics and legacy as seen through forgotten photographs. Montoya’s paintings are made with acrylic to recreate the photorealistic qualities of the photographs. She currently resides in Mesa, Arizona where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Painting and Drawing. Her work has won awards and has been exhibited by institutions, such as Arizona State University, Oakland Art’s Review, and Artists of Promise. Montoya is currently working on a ceramic series that highlights the balance inner violence and gentle actions. She is also working on a water based series on mental “monsters” and its effect on relationships and affection.

Artist Statement: "First Born" is a painting of a photograph of my grandmother with my aunt. My aunt was born after my grandparents were married and settled in the U.S.A. She is the firstborn of the family. This painting is about reflecting on our origins and trying to find ways and gaps that we might've taken to change our lives in the past. My grandmother looks at the baby with love and tenderness, but the baby looks at the viewer, a conversation between past and present.
Xianna Montoya - End of Then Beginning of Now

End of an Era,
Beginning of Now

Xianna Montoya
College Senior
Bio: Xianna Montoya’s art explores family dynamics and legacy as seen through forgotten photographs. Montoya’s paintings are made with acrylic to recreate the photorealistic qualities of the photographs. She currently resides in Mesa, Arizona where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Painting and Drawing. Her work has won awards and has been exhibited by institutions, such as Arizona State University, Oakland Art’s Review, and Artists of Promise. Montoya is currently working on a ceramic series that highlights the balance of inner violence and gentle actions. She is also working on a water based series on mental “monsters” and its effect on relationships and affection.

Artist Statement: "End of Then, Beginning of Now" is a painting of my grandmother photographed with her sister and mother. My grandparents had both traveled from different parts of Mexico to attend school in Stockton, California. They met and married shortly afterward. This image shows a moment of innocence of what is to come. My grandfather takes a photo of the three women while they shyly position themselves, gossiping and making fun. This lost moment will not happen again; my grandparents will not live the lives they had in Mexico; they will raise children through poverty and racism. This piece is a visual marker of one story ending and the beginning of another.
Under Your Skin - Iliana Gonzales

Under Your Skin

Iliana Gonzales
College Senior
Bio: I am a 22 year old artist based in Tucson, Arizona. I am pursuing a BFA with an emphasis is 2-dimensional studies at the University of Arizona. I work predominantly in oil paint and charcoal, occasionally exploring with other mediums such as pastels and graphite. My work revolves around my personal experiences, identity, and relationships. I depict my relationship with myself, loved ones and the world around me through a use of vibrant colors and soft blending techniques.

Artist Statement: This painting represents the union of two people with a love for body art. The couple are people close to me and I’ve witnessed the growth they’ve made together over the ten year span of their relationship. They met as young adults and over the years, the more ink they’ve collected, the more the older art has settled into their bodies. The title of this piece is a play on the ink underneath their skin physically and the metaphorical nature in which they’ve grown to love each other over time.
Los Danzantes - Andres Caballero

Los Danzantes

Andres Caballero
Bio: I grew up in Mexico City, where I began working in documentary films and later included photography in my practice. There, I began an examination of Mexican identity through Lucha Libre events. I have been working on this subject for around 2 years, presenting a photographic exhibition called “Your Insults are Welcome” inside a Mexican Wrestling arena. I received my BA in Communications and Media Studies at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. I am a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a graduate degree in the United States, where I am currently an MFA candidate in the Photography, Video and Imaging department at the University of Arizona’s College of Fine Arts.

Artist Statement: My work searches for the complexities and contradictions of the human experience while also exploring what identity means and how it is built through the years, which oftentimes leads to a journey of self discovery. Sociology has been an important point of reference, providing insights into how we develop specific behaviors, traits and traditions according to our own environment. One of my main principles is to approach every subject with openness and respect, developing connections with the people I work with. I strive to understand the idiosyncrasies of each individual and recognize the rituals that are integral to every community. One of my goals is to engage and challenge viewers by dismantling stereotypes that may lead to prejudice. Drawing inspiration from documentary films and literature, especially from Latin American writers.
Everything I Am - Alonzo Coronado

Everything I Am

Alonzo Coronado
College Sophomore
Bio: My name is Alonzo Coronado. I am a member of the Pasqua Yaqui Tribe of Guadalupe as well as Mexican American. I am a 3rd year at Arizona State University on the Tempe campus with a major in Animation with the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts. I also run an online shop on my own through Instagram as well as with Student Made at ASU, an organization where Sun Devil creatives can have a platform to sell their works.

Artist Statement: There are lots of talks and discourse that has taken place saying how various border tribes cannot be considered to be “Real” Native/Indigenous. Although history plainly states how colonial borders have created that mindset and way of thinking which in turn divides people rather than coming together. I wanted to create a piece of art that is near and dear to my heart, my family, and through it express how there is no definitive way or style that can be considered “Native Art. In this piece I have included plenty of imagery of what my environment is and also what pertains to my culture. I have had interactions in the past getting called, “Not Native enough” or “More Mexican”. This piece is supposed to represent how many similarities and connections come from both sides of who I am, since that is the reason why I exist. That is what made me Everything I Am.

If you are interested in participating in the panel or the next exhibition, please get in touch with Sam Groff at Xico at s.groff@xico.org.