¿Quieres salvar al mundo? Empieza por tu familia = Do you want to save the world? Start with your family




Villanueva, Jennifer Teresa

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This Master's Report serves as a personal narrative of my artistic practice, which explores the everyday life, migration history, labor, and identity of my immigrant family's experiences between the United States and México. In my role as an artist, writer, and daughter, my work documents the sacrifices, vulnerabilities, and emotional tolls that come with the daily struggles of being undocumented and navigating the realities of the so-called American Dream and the “American Nightmare.” Trust and collaboration play a crucial role in documenting my family's intimate and vulnerable moments, as they reveal their lives through various media and genres, including color film, digital photography, environmental portraiture, family archives, legal documents, and still-life imagery. By examining the interplay between private and public spaces and the relationship between candidness and staging in documentary photography, I shed light on the emotional and psychological toll of the labor of living. My work serves as a visual dialogue that investigates the intersections of political and personal experiences, the exploitation of labor, and the larger social struggles that my family faces as they strive to make a better life for themselves in the U.S. Ultimately, I aim to serve as a bridge between México and the U.S., surveying the familiarities and traditions of my family's domestic life and their emotional availability, as they continue to strive for citizenship. This work is a healing process for my family and I as the work creates a supportive and safe environment that encourages open communication, faces generational trauma, and supports each other to overcome the challenges associated with migration and build a fulfilling life in another country that we call home.



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