Celebrating Heritage and Art

By: Alison Ziegler, ziegleral@mnstate.edu


The art gallery in the Roland Dille Center for the Arts opened its doors to debut a visiting art exhibit on Sept. 17. The two artists featured are Anh-Thuy Nguyen and Fidencio Fifield-Perez.

A reception was scheduled for Sept. 20, but was canceled due to Nguyen’s travels being delayed by recent hurricanes. An art colloquium with Fidencio, hosted the art department, was held instead.

Nguyen, who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, received a BFA in photography from the University of Arizona and an MFA in photography and video from Southern Methodist University. She is also an assistant professor at Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma.

Nguyen was unable to visit the MSUM campus but her work is being displayed in the CA gallery. She works in a few different mediums including photography, video installations and performance art. She sent her artist statement to the CA for information and spreading the word of her exhibit.

I am interested in exploring and documenting my and other people’s socio-cultural and physiological behaviors. Using my Vietnamese history and my experiences as an immigrant as resources, my work investigates personal and cultural identities,” her statement read.

Nguyen’s exhibit is titled “Citizenship Project.” She describes the project as a personal interpretation of documenting the American naturalization that is built on her interest of relational aesthetics and her fascination with pass/fail measurements applied in the American system. In her artist statement, Nguyen also said the installation blurs the lines between art and life.

Fifield-Perez was featured at a colloquium in the Center for Business at MSUM on Monday, Sept. 24. This presentation highlighted different parts of his life and his art exhibit “Legalities of Being.”

He was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and at the age of seven came to the United States as an undocumented child. He spent a lot of his youth keeping his head low and not drawing attention to himself.

He was able to attend high school and undergraduate studies, he was not sure where to go from there until the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was instated in 2012.

DACA is an American immigration policy that allows some individual children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the U.S.

While Fidencio attended graduate school, he had a professor who asked him his biggest fear.

“My greatest fear was someone knowing I was undocumented,” he said. “These are the metaphorical beings of what I am feeling…a fence that is frozen in time, acting as a net.”

After completing grad school, Fidencio started a non-profit organization with some fellow artists. Here he helped give back to his community by teaching screen printing and other art techniques. He has also participated in organizations such as “Culture Strike”.

His artist message includes the following: “My practice currently focuses on the authority given to paper objects over the people they document. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ refusal to recognize one’s humanity within the country has forced 750,000 undocumented people to prove their existence and movements via receipts, report cards, Facebook posts, and mail… I choose cutting paper and other surfaces as a primary technique because it evokes the crafts and customs taught to me as a toddler in Oaxaca, Mexico, where these skills are still used to celebrate festivals and to mourn the dead. I cut and rearrange maps, paintings, and prints to portray what or who has too often been forgotten.”

Lizzie Madsen, a sophomore art education major at MSUM, attended the lecture given by Fidencio.

“His artwork isn’t starting and stopping inside the walls of a gallery and, as he said in the lecture, the work he made for the community was never made with the intention to be gallery work,” She said. “It was important for the work to say something important and to spark activity.”

The visiting art exhibit will be housed in the MSUM art gallery until Oct. 5. The exhibit is free to view. Hours for the gallery are 9a.m.-9p.m. Monday through Friday and 10a.m.-3p.m. on Saturdays.



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