Juana Valdes uses printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and site-specific installations, to explore issues of race, transnationalism, gender, labor, and class. Functioning as an archive, Valdes’s work analyzes and decodes experiences of migration as a person of Afro Caribbean heritage. It evokes migration as a complex process that involves both the homespace of the diasporic community as well as their new homeland. With this nuanced approach, she examines the post-colonial history of the Americas and the current representation of Latinos, Caribbean’s, Blacks, and what constitutes as “the other” in mainstream America.
Born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Valdes came to the United States in 1971. She received her BFA in Sculpture from the Parsons School of Design, her MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. She is currently a professor in the Art Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is represented in Miami by Spinello Projects.
Valdes’ work is currently on view in the solo exhibition Terrestrial Bodies, at Miami Dade College’s Cuban Legacy Gallery part of their Special Collection and in the group exhibition Queer + Peculiar Craft, showcasing recent work by an international group of artists, designers and makers working with ceramics and textiles, at The Clemente’s Abrazo Interno Gallery in New York City.