Wilfredo Valladares Lara
Watch an interview with curators Trisha Kyner and Osvaldo Mesa about the art of Wilfredo Valladares Lara.
Childhood memories are the roadmap of my artistic research. Some of my early memories take me back to a creative space where I began training my observation and appreciation for form, time, and space. I give credit to my mother who guided me through understanding empirical concepts of fashion design, architecture, drawing, painting, and earthworks. Principles of nature were taught by my father whose way of life was rooted in our ancestral Mayan traditions and culture. This combined gift became the engine that forged the sensors that allow me to absorb and process visual information wherever my mind is placed.
To be able to endure the life of an immigrant, one must hold on to their memories. My body immigrated to the United States, but my mind was still in Honduras. It has been this duality and tension that informed my art concepts as I go through with my life inquiry. Documenting trajectory is part of my process of gathering and storing information that later becomes part of the ingredients to be mixed with physical materials shaped by genuine labor and instinctual thoughts. Migration narratives have been a recurrent subject in the work I produce. It is a response to human struggle, migrant labor, displacement, labels, assimilation, and the interconnectedness of political and socioeconomic factors.
I use Mayan mythology and symbolism to inject mystery and spiritual power as a reminder of one of the earliest world migrations. When historians describe the history of the people of the Mesoamerica region, they are usually referred to as ancient or no longer in existence when, in fact, still there. Cultural tradition, languages, art, architecture, and cuisine are still heavily influenced by the memories of that history and practice. Presently, my studio practice is steeped in memories collected throughout the journey I took 30 years ago —they are the catalyst of how I have been able to process my cross-cultural experiences through my art.
Born in Trujillo Colon, Honduras, Central America, Wilfredo began his career as an artist and educator. It was due to his challenging of perceptions as a teacher during a time of conflict in his country that it became necessary for Wilfredo to seek political asylum in the United States. Wilfredo arrived in the early nineties where he continued his journey as an artist by attending Montgomery College, then Maryland Institute College of Art, graduating with a BFA in sculpture. He pursued and received an MFA in sculpture at the University of Maryland. It was evident that his chosen path would lead him to make contributions in the academic and artistic arenas. He has been part of numerous artistic and educational events, such as group shows, solo exhibits, workshops, and environmental installations. In 1997, Wilfredo had his first international sculpture show in Milan, Italy where he had the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse community of artists and curators. Wilfredo’s work is designed to cross boundaries and to move beyond the traditional paradigm of cross-cultural art. In August of 2009, Wilfredo installed a piece entitled “Petalos Reflejantes,” a permanent installation commissioned by Montgomery County and Auras Design. The sculpture was installed in downtown Silver Spring Maryland. A recent installation and one of his most notable commissions, "Journey : Anacostia," — located in the historic neighborhood of Anacostia in Washington, DC — explores the interconnectedness of cultures.