Changarrito with Corinne Whittemore

Sep. 21, 2019

Sep. 21, 2019 @ 12:00 pm Sep. 22, 2019 @ 3:00 pm

Cover image artwork: Corinne Whittemore, “Habla Tex,” Sublimation Print on Aluminum, (48″ x 17″) and (24″ x 8.5″), 2015

Corinne Whittemore outside Mexic-Arte with the changarrito cart
Corinne Whittemore, Valley Cultura Candles & Stickers, Full Color Clear Vinyl Stickers with Protective Laminate on Glass Prayer Candles, 2.75” x 2.75”), (2.75” x 6”) and (4” x 6.5”), 2016

About the Artist

Corinne Whittemore is an artist, single mother, graphic designer and educator. She grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, received her MFA in Visual Communications from the University of Arizona and has been teaching at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for the past four years in graphic design. Corinne has worked in the field of graphic design for over fifteen years as a Production Artist, Graphic Designer, Marketing Coordinator and Freelancer on both the East and West Coasts. She lived, most recently, in Virginia Beach, VA before moving back to the Valley in 2014. Having grown up in the Valley, Corinne has first-hand experience with its unique border culture and she has focused her research and digital artwork around the hybridity of the borderlands

Artist Statement

“My art is an exploration of identity and environment as well as a documentation of border culture. Border culture exists both in identifiable geographic areas and as a perceived and sacred internal space that visually and linguistically blends cultural experience and identity.

The U.S./Mexico border of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), is often a place where the blending of American and Mexican culture occurs. Although this “blending” is sometimes viewed as negative, forceful, oppressive and/or stemming from colonialism, my experience is that while the combination is full of complexity and paradox, it is also beautiful and welcomed. I refer to this fragmented cultural fusion as ‘Valley Cultura’ or ‘Valley Culture’; it is a visual account of my hybrid border identity. My digital art is a transcultural narrative from the female perspective. It is as much a personal documentation and exploration of my struggle to find, claim and embrace place and cultural identity as it is a visual account of the thriving culture unique this region.

My desire to celebrate the combined cultures stems from my personal experience with adoption. I was adopted as an infant to a loving white couple with only one piece of information about my biological heritage being passed to my adoptive parents through my caseworker—that I am of Mexican descent. As was common during the time, my adoption was closed, which meant that all records concerning both parties were sealed.

The border is a metaphor for me on many levels. It reflects a psychological impasse; an internal boundary that fails to be breached. The “other side” has a fantastical and somewhat surreal element where there is a longing to fit, find residence and blend with my surroundings. A border can be defined as: an “other;” a story unfamiliar, unknown, feared, rejected, formerly dismissed. A divide. Closed adoption has created a divide; a communication barrier between myself and my biological cultural heritage. Valley Cultura provides me with a malleable and flexible space that allows the blending and melding to occur freely in my art through objects, textures and colors.

Changarrito cart September 20th & 21st

Artists have the opportunity to sell their art on the Changarrito cart in front of the Museum (or an offsite location, as representative for the Museum during various Austin festivals). Changarreando expands the reach of the artist by presenting their gallery online, while allowing the option to sell merch over Instagram and receive 100% of the sale.

Corinne Whittemore featured his artwork on the Changarrito cart outside the Museum’s entrance on September 20th and 21st, 2019.

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Mexic-Arte Museum

419 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701 United States
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(512) 480-9373